The election commission of Turkmenistan hosted a briefing on Saturday, 25 March 2023, for the foreign journalists accredited in Turkmenistan. It was conducted by the deputy head of the election commission, Amangeldy Gandymov.
He gave the details on the number of registered voters, the candidates fielded by each party and the citizens’ initiative groups, the constituencies and polling stations, the foreign observers and other information. — The parliamentary elections will take place on 26 March 2023.
Answering a question by nCa, Gandymov said that the youth, particularly those who have just turned 18 and will be voting for the first time, have shown political awareness. He said that the young people enthusiastically participated in the campaign gatherings and listened responsively to the various candidates.
Ms. Ogulsapar Ezimova, the head of one of the polling stations where the journalists were taken to look at the arrangements for the voting, also said that the youth have followed the campaigns by the candidates carefully and they would hopefully make an informed choice. She is a senior lecturer at the institute of international relations, which will be one of the polling stations for the voting, and as such, she is certainly accordant with the thoughts and aspirations the youth.
The youth – the people in the age group 18-25 – are a major group among the registered voters in Turkmenistan. Including the nearly 80000 who have just turned 18, the youth constitutes more than 45% of total voters. Taking into consideration the age overlap among the slabs, the youth might even account for about 50% of the voting population. We are making this statement on the knowledge that many people in the age groups 26-50, possibly 25-60, in Turkmenistan are comfortable and at ease with the younger generation in the circles of their relatives and acquaintances. There is no noticeable generation gap here.
If the youth, as a whole, is the decisive block in the parliamentary elections taking place tomorrow, will it lead to some kind of upset in the election results? — The short answer is, NO.
Some explanation is in order.
The immediate questions facing the youth are: 1. Will they have the opportunity to get the higher education in their desired specialization; 2. Will they get a job or the economic space to make a decent living; 3. Will they have access to their near-term and mid-term requirements such as housing, automobile, healthcare, and the capacity to support their parents and elders in their time of need.
The candidates in the parliamentary elections of Turkmenistan have conveyed their message to the voters, and almost all of them covered the answers to these questions in one way of the other.
The candidates promised what is already in various stages of implementation i.e. the various programmes and initiatives of the government to present ready solutions to the population, particularly the youth.
On the other hand, the youth, because of their connectedness in the social media and elsewhere, are also aware of what is happening in their surroundings.
The pitch offered by the candidates according to their party lines or citizens’ group objectives differed only in the rearrangement of priorities – if one candidate stressed the employment opportunities, the other focused on startups or micro agro-business models. This difference occurred because of the nature of the constituency – rural or urban or a mix of both.
Essentially, the candidates and the voters are going in the same direction. The elections in Turkmenistan are traditionally a joyful event. The youth will certainly play a decisive role in the outcome of the elections. We predict a healthy rate of participation but no upsets. /// nCa, 25 March 2023
Here are some pictures from the briefing at the election commission and our visit to two polling stations: