MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. An early voting in Turkmenistan’s presidential election begins on Thursday for the country's nationals staying abroad, the Embassy of Turkmenistan to Russia said, adding that it will continue until February 11.
The presidential election itself is due on February 12. "All in all, 2,578 polling stations will be opened, including 39 at Turkmenistan’s diplomatic missions outside the country," Ambassador to Russia Batyr Niyazliyev said.
He said polling stations for the early voting will be opened at the embassy in Moscow (on February 2-11), as well as in St. Petersburg (on February 4), Tatarstan’s capital Kazan (on February 7), in the southern city of Krasnodar (February 3) and in the capital city of Kalmykia Elista (February 8).
On the voting day, February 12, polling stations in Russia will be opened at Turkmenistan’s Embassy in Moscow and its Consulate in the Volga River city of Astrakhan.
Three parties are for the first time taking part in the presidential election: the ruling Democratic Party whose candidate is President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs as well as the Agrarian Party that have also nominated their candidates. Six more candidates come from initiative groups.
All nine candidates have been officially registered by the Central Election Commission. They have received "equal possibilities for organizing meetings with voters, speaking on television and radio as well as in printed media," the embassy said.
Under the new Constitution, the presidential term has been increased from five to seven years. The age limit has also been extended to 70 years.
At the presidential elections of 2012, Berdymukhamedov received an overwhelming 97% of the vote.