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ASHGABAT, February 13 (Itar-Tass) — The presidential election in Turkmenistan that took place on February 12, 2012, was organised at a high level, in compliance with the state’s election laws and universally recognised democratic standards,Sergei Lebedev, Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee - CIS Executive Secretary, who headed the CIS observer mission at the Turkmen presidential election on Sunday, said at a press conference on Monday.
The CIS mission was for the first time invited to the presidential election in Turkmenistan. The national observers also watched the election. The OSCE mission, the same as at the previous election in 2007 was not officially invited. Only ODIHR experts are staying in Turkmenistan to assist the OSCE Ashgabat office in preparing a report on the election.
According to the preliminary election results, announced by the election commission of Turkmenistan on Monday morning, 96.7 percent of eligible voters participated in the election. As many as 2,888,887 citizens of the country came to the polls. There were eight candidates running at the election. Incumbent head of state Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov scored 97.14 percent of the vote. The country’s Minister of Water Resources Annageldy Yazmyradov was second with 1.7 percent of the vote.
“Election commissions, the executive authorities, local self-government bodies secured the right of citizens to free expression of will,” Lebedev said, familiarising Turkmen media with the mission’s conclusions. “The election became a significant step in Turkmenistan’s progress on the path of implementing new democratic reforms,” he said.
“The observation has been qualified and objective,” the CIS mission head stressed. “We adhere to the principle of neutrality, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for the laws of the host country, but the main principle is objectivity,” Lebedev said.
“We do not comment on the election results, because it is the choice of the people of Turkmenistan,” Lebedev said. “But according to our estimates, the people voted for stability, for the course pursued by the current leadership of the country for improving the social situation of the citizens and future economic growth.”
“Certainly, there were minor violations, which were technical in nature and did not affect the outcome of the vote and did not limit the right to free expression,” the CIS observers’ head noted. He named among them rare cases in which a husband and wife together entered the polling booth, when the head of a family produced passports of all of its members and when ballot papers at some polling stations were not invalidated before their counting.
The CIS observer mission for the first time worked at Turkmenistan’s parliamentary elections in 2008, Lebedev recalled, noting that since then Turkmenistan’s electoral legislation has become “more specific,” and called the presidential election “more open.” The CIS observer mission comprised of 63 people - representatives of nine CIS member states. They monitored the election in all regions of the country.