UNDP Turkmenistan, in cooperation with the Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan, organized the 3-day Electoral Contestants workshop for the group of electoral administration officials and representatives of political parties during 24-26 Sept 2013 at President Hotel, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Since 2008 the UNDP Country Office in Turkmenistan implements a project on enhancing the electoral system and processes in Turkmenistan, which focuses on providing electoral assistance to the Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan to strengthen the capacity of CEC in implementation of the Unified Electoral Code and the provisions of the Law on Political Parties.
The workshop was welcomed by the CEC Deputy Chair Mr. Allaberdi Ussayev and UNDP/Turkmenistan representative Ogulshirin Yazlyyeva, who welcomed the participants and mentioned the importance of the workshop towards the upcoming elections of Parliament.
The workshop was facilitated in Russian by Giorgi Sharabidze and Natia Kashakashvili. In total 18 participants (9 male, 9 female) attended BRIDGE workshop, out of which nine were political party/union representatives, three from the CEC secretariat and six from the District Election commissions.
The workshop agenda focused on Legal framework for contestants, party registration and candidate nomination, principles of quotas, candidate nomination challenges; candidate nomination procedures and forms, political campaigning/unfair campaigning, Codes of Conduct for contestants and campaign financing.
The principles of free and fair elections as well as the criteria of the internationally accepted standards of the elections were introduced to participants via several international documents (UDHR, ICCPR, CEDAW and other conventions). Apart from the principles of the elections, participants have identified specific articles that guarantee the participation of the political parties and the candidates in the electoral processes. Major topics from the Electoral Contestants module of focus was the political campaigning and codes of conduct for Contestants. Participants were exploring approaches to campaigning and behavior during the political campaigns based on country case studies.
Workshop participants have positively evaluated the workshop in terms of content and methodology and thanked the implementers. Some of the district election commissioners have noted the need to get more knowledge on their primary responsibilities based on other countries practices. As the political party system is quite a new aspect of elections in Turkmenistan, it is recommended to conduct in-depth training for political parties that will broaden the knowledge on creating political party platforms, strategies and therefore running political campaigns.