In the run-up to the Presidential elections in Turkmenistan local executives openly take advantage of the lobbying power, or to put it simply, exercise pressure on their subordinates to make them vote for the incumbent President.
The departments of the Ministry of Railway Transportation arranged staff meetings, in the course of which executives read out the address by Minister Seyitgulyev. In his address the Minister assures (apparently, convincing the President) that “employees of Turkmenistan’s railway transportation will unanimously vote for the honoured Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov”.
- All those present in the conference room were surprised as 8 candidates had been nominated including our fellow compatriot but nobody showed their surprise, - says one of the foremen of the Dashoguz track station N1. – At the end of the meeting our boss made a speech and encouraged us to support the Minister’s address. In response the attendees sang a chorus “Bolya, bashlyk!” (OK, boss!).
Similar meetings were held in the local offices of the Association “Turkmengallaonumleri” (Cereal products), at the factories under the Ministry of Textile Industry and offices of the Communications Ministry where the executives, not being the candidate’s authorized representatives, demanded that their subordinates “vote for the nation’s leader, great patron arkadag G. Arkadag Berdymukhammedov”.
These direct violations of the election legislation remain unnoticed by the so-called independent observers from the CIS countries.
It is during these days when similar election campaign meetings in support of the incumbent President were held in velayats and etraps, the head of CIS observers mission Evgeniy Sloboda in an interview to the newspaper “Neitralny Turkmenistan” said that “all candidates running for the post of the Turkmen President have equal opportunities for arranging the election campaigns. We can see this in the materials published in print media, on television or when organizing meetings with voters “.