UNDP Turkmenistan in cooperation with National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights and Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan, with the financial support of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is implementing the project ”Enhancing Electoral System and Process in Turkmenistan”. Under the capacity building component of the ongoing project UNDP conducted the pilot BRIDGE workshop for the electoral officials of Turkmenistan. BRIDGE workshop was held on 11-15 May, 2010 in Hotel Rahat, Ashgabat.
Turkmenistan has an exceptional political environment with a one party system so far. Although, in the view of the ongoing democratic developments in the country, this year, President of Turkmenistan several times indicated in his statements that second party registration will soon be feasible. The electoral administration therefore will face new challenges with the increased competition and additional public interest to the process.
Team consisting of representatives of National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights as well as Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan together with fully accredited BRIDGE facilitator Shalva Tskhakaya and UNDP elections project team adapted the Module – Introduction to Electoral Administration for Turkmen electoral officials. Training was prepared and conducted in Russian language and the adaption process took over a month of work and negotiations with local stakeholders.
12 representatives of District Electoral Commissions, 2 representatives of Central Election Commission, 2 representatives of National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights and 2 representatives of UNDP Turkmenistan, a total of 18 persons (6 women and 12 men) participated in a 5 day workshop. Participants included some very experienced electoral officials with over 30 years of election experience in the same election system.
Workshop content included mostly activities from the Module Introduction to Electoral Administration and touched the issues of electoral principles, EMB functions and structure, code of conduct, election planning, voter registration, observers and media etc. BRIDGE training methodology was also widely discussed during the workshop and each participant had an opportunity to run one energizer and present an activity. Written evaluation sheets and verbal feedback from participants were highly positive.
Project envisages farther BRIDGE workshops for lower level electoral administration as well as representatives of Media.