Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Turkmen Leader Appears to be More of the Same

The votes have been cast for the next leader of Turkmenistan and with an absurdly large voter turnout reported by government officials it appears that the future may hold more of the same for the people of Turkmenistan.
Below is a summary of the article Turkmenistan: Special Presidential Election "Stage-Managed" of Eurasianet.org.

"The conduct of Turkmenistan’s special presidential election offered no hint of the reform intentions..."
"Election officials announced that almost 99 percent of eligible voters cast ballots..."
"Opposition leaders derided the vote as thoroughly 'stage-managed'..."
"Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, the country’s interim leader and the vote’s likely winner ... spoke [before the election] repeatedly about the need to implement changes ... The vote, however, was conducted in the best Soviet tradition..."
"Given the government’s performance in the vote, there are growing doubts that Berdymukhammedov’s reform effort will meet even the minimal expectations of Western observers."
"The implausible reported turn-out [along with] the absence of free media or alternative candidates signal that the election itself is not a fresh start. It is history repeating itself."

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