How to win an election – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov style

Picking up an cool 97.14% of vote in the recent Presidential elections, newly re-elected President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov must be pretty pleased with his election campaign. I can only begin to imagine the hours spent knocking on doors, folding leaflets and touring the country to get such a remarkable return.

Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan was quick to congratulate Mr Berdimuhamedov on his re-election wishing him “good health, happiness and continued success in his state activities as well as welfare and prosperity to the friendly people of Turkmenistan”. Aliyev’s view of “continued welfare and prosperity” of the Turkmen people seems to slightly vary however from that of independent human rights organisations.

Amnesty International commented on the elections by saying, “Serious human rights violations such as torture and ill-treatment continue to be committed in detention facilities and severe restrictions remain on freedom of movement and expression, political activism, faith and many other fundamental rights”

You can get the picture of the situation from this briefing paper Amnesty International compiled.

Either way, the unaccountable leader was re-elected with an incredible 97.14%. I wonder whether it niggles at him that the his predecessor, President for life Saparmurad Niyazov (aka Turkmenbashi) was elected with 99.5% of the vote in 1992?

I suspect that Berdimuhamedov will hold up the fact that 7 people stood against him in an election as a sign of reform. The fact that all 7 men were close allies of the President and did not once speak out against his oppressive and dictatorial regime is a mere detail.

So if you are hitting the campaign trail anytime soon, follow these simple rules:

  • Ban international monitoring missions
  • Only allow your most loyal friends and colleagues to stand against you
  • Implement a brutal and repressive regime that will use force and fear to ensure absolute control.

An easy 1,2,3 to election success – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov style.

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Filed under Central Asia, Human rights, Politics

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