The mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Ashkhabad ambiguously estimated the Constitutional reforms adopted on Wednesday by the Parliament of Turkmenistan. In its comments published earlier the organisation raised concerns about the restrictions of individual human rights, the complete ban on political parties with religious or ethnic attributes and extensive presidential powers.
The President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow signed the new fundamental law adopted unanimously earlier by the Mejlis (Parliament) of Turkmenistan. The Constitution removes presidential age limit and increases his term of office from five to seven years, imposes restrictions on the right to vote of persons “recognised by the courts as legally incapable”, and contains reference to “moral” as legitimate grounds for prohibiting the establishment of a political party.
“This amended Constitution represents a new stage in the socio-economic and moral dimensions of Turkmenistan’s life. The document was developed on the basis of international law and fully implements its fundamental provisions,” Berdimuhamedow said.
The OSCE, however, has already made clear that it is not satisfied with the new reforms. The experts of the organisation urged the authorities of this Central Asian republic to remove the provision, which links the exercise of individual human rights with the “fulfilment of duties”, to prohibit the censorship and to retain the presidential term of office of five years.
The Constitution of Turkmenistan was adopted in 1992. After the demise of the USSR the first President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov amended it in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2006 years. Niyazov introduced president-for-life term, revoked the traditional calendar and prohibited opera, ballet and circus.