Turkmenistan. The February presidential election was a game for the galleries. President Gurbanguli Berdimuchammedov’s victory was given in advance. Formally, challengers were given the chance to stand in the election, but the opposition in exile did not trust Berdimuchammedov, as most leading opposition politicians had been sentenced to prison in their absence. Of the seven candidates who stood next to the president, several expressed his support for him.
Berdimuchammedov, who at his own request is called the Protector, received, according to the regime’s election commission, more than 97% of the vote. The Commission called the election open, while London-based think tank Chatham House described it as a democratic scam and an example of false democracy. The turnout was officially stated at just over 96%.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Turkmenistan. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
The election campaign was conducted in a closed society where all media were completely controlled by the regime. According to Reporters Without Borders, Turkmenistan was almost the worst in the world in terms of freedom of the press, only Eritrea and North Korea were worse. An unknown number of journalists and human rights activists were imprisoned.
For the first time since Turkmenistan left the Soviet Union, the International Red Cross Committee was allowed to visit a prison in the country. Human rights organizations have repeatedly reported severe abuses and abuses in Turkmenist prisons.
In July, bread prices suddenly tripled to the equivalent of SEK 1.40 for a loaf. The price of flour doubled. No official explanation was given, but the price increases were assumed to be associated with decreasing harvests and the decision in 2010 to start exporting wheat. There are no reliable figures on the salaries of Turkmenistanis, but an average monthly salary is estimated to be approximately SEK 1,300.
According to countryaah, the population of Turkmenistan in 2012 was 5,565,176, ranking number 115 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.810% yearly, and the population density was 11.8428 people per km2.