The Fourth Majlis is upon us! ITAR-TASS reports that the latest round of parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan—just completed on Sunday—drew nearly 2.6 million people (2.595 million, or precisely 93.87% of the voting population), making it the legitimatest election Ashgabat has ever dared to hold.
The Commonwealth of Independent States certainly agrees, since they felt comfortable immediately declaring the elections “free and open,” though the CIS webpage devoted to elections is curiously blank in both Russian and English.
More interesting, perhaps, will be the report filed by the OSCE ODIHR monitoring team, which is currently reporting back to Warsaw. Turkmenistan has never had an OSCE monitoring team, at least not one that got this close to an election. Given the tone of their recently released report on human rights defenders in the region, it will probably be interesting to read.
But seriously—when all the candidates are all from the same political party, how free of an election can it be?
Other Considerations: How might this election play into Stomatologbashi’s plans to tackle the “hidden scourges” of narcotics trafficking and drug abuse? It is possible they played a role in the recent (and also unprecedented) Battle of Ashgabat. Are they related? How might the election be related as well?
Final note: For no reason whatsoever, it creeps me out a little bit that the CIS website is hosted in Belarus.