Turkmenistan to make 1st step to presidential election

(Itar-Tass) - On Tuesday, Turkmenistan is to make a major step towards determining its future -- the members of the Khalk Maslakhaty (People's Council) here are to consider the suggested candidacies of contenders for the presidency, and announce a date for presidential election, which must be held not later than two months from the day an acting President is appointed.

Turkmenistan's First President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died on December 21, this year, had held the post of the Head of State for 15 years in succession, reports Trend.

The Khalk Maslakhaty of Turmenistan is the top representative body, which has the powers of supreme state governing and administration authority. This is the only agency, which is competent to adopt a Constitution, constitutional laws and introduce amendments and addenda to them. The People's Council consists of 2,507 members who represent all branches of power and public organizations of the country.

The People's Council is now to accomplish a very complicated task connected with the launch of a process of arranging and holding a presidential election, with the country lacking an appropriate bill that would regulate these matters.

Everyone remembers quite well how persistently and repeatedly President Niyazov used to urge the Khalk Maslakhaty members to mull a Presidential Election Bill. An invariable response from the people's representatives was, "This matter should not even be put on the agenda, for you are our President for life".

One of prominent Turkmen lawyers, whom an Itar-Tass correspondent has contacted, believes, "In the present situation it becomes increasingly urgent to pass a Presidential Election Bill, for a presidential election procedure has not been set out either in the Constitution or other legislative acts of Turkmenistan".

"A procedure for the election of a President of Turkmenistan and for his inauguration is established by law," the lawyer quoted the Constitution as stipulating. "As of now, there is no such a law," he added.

Apart from the item concerning the election of a new Head of State, the People's Council members are to determine, on Wednesday or somewhat later, the second-important politician in the State -- Chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty, who is elected by two-thirds of the Council members' votes. The late President also held this post. The post of the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers is also vacant in view of Niyazov's demise.

Six days ago, Turkmenistan lost the leader who wielded undivided authority. Everyone in this country is now aware of the extent to which the future of the State depends on decisions taken by the supreme representative body.

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