Elections-2023: what will the Mejlis look like in the updated composition?13.03.2023 | 00:22 |
On March 26, Turkmenistan will hold general elections of deputies to the country's parliament – the Mejlis, which will now act as the only state authority adopting laws. Previously, such a right was distributed between the upper and lower houses of the National Assembly. After the reform, Turkmenistan is moving back to a unicameral parliament.
ORIENT decided to make an overview of what the average candidate for the Mejlis looks like in order to understand who will represent the Turkmen people in the country's legislature.
Who is participating in the elections?
Citizens over the age of 25 and who have lived in the country for the previous 10 years are allowed to participate in the elections. Each candidate is nominated in his own constituency. There are 125 of them in the country with approximately an equal number of voters. Accordingly, there are 125 deputy seats in the Mejlis itself.
Currently, there are three main political forces of Turkmenistan in the country – the Democratic Party (DPT), the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (PPT) and the Agrarian Party. In addition to party candidates, independent candidates from citizens' initiative groups also enjoy the right to be elected.
What did the last composition of the Mejlis look like?
In the 2018 elections, the traditional majority of seats in the Turkmen parliament were occupied by "democrats". The overall picture of the current composition of the Mejlis looks like this. The majority is for the "Democrats" (55 seats). They are slightly inferior to the "independents" (48 seats). "Agrarians" with "industrialists and entrepreneurs" were equally represented in the supreme legislative body (11 seats each).
It is noteworthy that earlier, literally 10 years ago, representatives of public organizations participated in the work of the Mejlis. Thus, in the 2013 elections, the Organization of Trade Unions (33 seats), the Union of Women (16 seats), the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (14 seats) and the Magtymguly Youth Organization (8 seats) were elected to parliament.
The "Democrats" controlled only 37% of the seats in parliament at that time. The current image of the Mejlis began to emerge after the 2014 elections.
What is remarkable about the parliamentary elections-2023?
This year, the three parties mentioned above will compete for the right to receive a mandate – Democratic, Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Agrarian, as well as self–nominated candidates participating in the elections independently, without the support of a political party.
A total of 285 candidates were registered, two or three candidates for each constituency. The most candidates were registered in Mary region (59), slightly less in Dashoguz (56), followed by Lebap (52), Ahal and the city of Ashgabat (35 each) and the least in the Balkan region (21).
Why is there such a difference?
The number of registered candidates from each electoral district depends on the population of a particular territory.
By a large margin from other political parties are the "Democrats" – they have registered 98 candidates. The "agrarians" have half as many – 47. The Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs nominated only 30 candidates.
But the main feature of the 2023 elections was a record number of candidates nominated by initiative groups of citizens - 83 of them.
If we take into account the regional peculiarities of political preferences, then, most likely, representatives of those political forces that dominate in a particular area will get into parliament.
Statistics show mixed results on the eve of the elections: the Democratic Party is in the lead in terms of the number of candidates in general, but has a lag in some regions.
The Turkmen capital, being the main city of the country, registered, as noted above, 35 candidates. In the upcoming elections, Ashgabat will become one of the "youngest" regions: here the average age of a candidate is about 38 years.
In Ashgabat, the Democratic Party, which traditionally had a majority in the capital, will actively join the fight. 40% of all registered candidates have DPT party cards. The nominees from citizens' initiative groups are in second place – 29% of them are among the candidates from the Turkmen capital.
For obvious reasons, the Agrarian Party has a weak position in Ashgabat, which is a political, industrial, scientific and cultural center, with only 5 candidates registered from it, which is less than 14%. Traditionally, "industrialists and entrepreneurs" have good positions, with 17%.
Ashgabat is also in the first positions in the gender aspect: every fifth candidate here is a representative of the fair half of Turkmen society.
The statistics of candidates from this region almost duplicates the metropolitan calculations. Ahal, like Ashgabat, shared the palm in terms of the number of female candidates for a parliamentary seat. A minor difference lies in the more stable positions of the Agrarian Party (11%) in Ahal, compared with Ashgabat, from which the "industrialists and entrepreneurs" (9%) lagged slightly behind.
Self-nominees have quite strong positions (34%). The "Democrats" are the first among all parties here – they own almost half of all candidates.
According to the "age", Ahal is still older than the capital by as much as 4 years: the average age of candidates from the second largest region of the country is 42 years.
The Balkan region is the most sparsely populated region of the country, which shows unusual statistics in comparison with other regions. There are only 21 registered candidates here. In the Balkan, the share of "industrialists and entrepreneurs" of the total number of candidates is 19%. They are twice ahead of the "Democrats", who scored 38%. The second place in the western region of the country is taken by self–nominees - 29%. In an area that has always been famous for industrial giants, "agrarians" counted only 14% of candidates.
In the Balkan region, the average age of candidates for a deputy seat is 39 years.
The northern region of the country turned out to be the most "mature" in terms of age. Here, the average age of a candidate for deputy is 43 years (the oldest of them was born in 1959).
In Dashoguz, in comparison with other regions, there is also a low activity of initiative groups that nominated candidates – about 11% of nominees were registered in the northern region. But the Agrarian Party has a very strong position in the region, which has 25% of candidates here. This is one of the few regions where the "agrarians" show noticeable results, even if they are inferior to the "democrats", who have 46%. In Dashoguz, as in other regions, "industrialists and entrepreneurs" show an average of 18%.
The Lebap region, unlike the neighboring Dashoguz, can be proud of the fact that half of all candidates (50%) are the result of the active work of initiative groups. Along with Ashgabat, the Democrats also have strong positions (30%), and the weakest positions are with the PPP (8%). "Agrarians" own 12% of candidates.
In this region, as well as in Ashgabat and Ahal, there is a high proportion of women (17%) among the candidates.
The average age of candidates in the eastern region is 40 years.
If you create a generalized portrait of a candidate for deputy from the Mary region, then it will be a young man. There are only 7% of women among the candidates, whose average age is 37 years, despite the fact that the youngest of them is 26 years old.
Also, this region also distinguished itself by the fact that it did not register a single candidate from the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, becoming the only "bipartisan" from all regions. The strongest were the "democrats", who registered 37%, which is more than the "agrarians", who counted 28%. Thanks to the "vacuum" formed due to the absence of representatives of the PPP, the "agrarians" found their strongest positions in the Mary region. Candidates from citizens' initiative groups – 35%.
In the whole country, 38% of "democrats", 32% of candidates nominated by initiative groups of citizens, 18% of "agrarians" and 12% of "industrialists and entrepreneurs" are registered.
The average age of candidates in the country is 40 years. Every sixth candidate is a woman.
Some results and forecasts:
The Democratic Party has an advantage in Ashgabat, Ahal, Balkan and Lebap regions and is likely to retain a dominant role in parliament;
The agrarian Party can become the second main party of the country
The position of the Party of industrialists and entrepreneurs is strong in the Balkan and Dashoguz regions, but it does not have a majority in any of the regions of the country;
The absence of candidates from the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in the Mary region may make it the smallest party in parliament;
Most of the candidates are from initiative groups from the Lebap region.
The real results of the elections will be known only after they are over. How the updated composition of the Mejlis will actually look depends on the voters themselves and on the candidates' work with their electorate.