Turkmenistan’s Halk Maslahaty, or People’s Assembly, today rejected President Saparmurat Niyazov’s call for 2009 presidential elections, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reported.
The Halk Maslahaty is a roughly 3,000-seat body that meets once a year or when important decisions need the assembly’s approval.
What an impossible position they find themselves in. On the one hand, the president’s wish is as good as iron-clad law. On the other, they must, as Democracy Rising notes, show their love. nCa has some choice quotations.
Myrat Karriyev, head of the national election commission and coordinator of the religious council, took the floor and said, “I want to speak about the [point on agenda on] presidential elections. I would like to remind that we solved this problem on 28 December 1999 when we elected the Great Leader [as our] President for Life.”
He said, “I propose to remove this item from the agenda.”
Rozmetov, the kingpin of the farming sector of central Turkmenistan said, “We’ve already got a president for life and there should be no talk of presidential elections.”
Sopiyev, who is descended from the Khwarezm Sufi dynasty, said, “No one loves our people more than our president.”
When sufficient voices had been raised, Karriyev continued with renewed vigour, “We call him Great Father. How can we change our father?”
Niyazov thanked them for their confidence in him.