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Turkmenistan Downgrades Parliament in Favor of People’s Council

The president of Turkmenistan has approved changes to the constitution downgrading the role of parliament in favor of a revived People’s Council, canceling a minor token gesture toward democratization adopted a decade ago.

At the same time, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has followed through on his long-awaited plan to cancel wide-ranging subsidies that guaranteed Turkmen households free gas, water and electricity.

Parliament speaker Akdja Nurberdiyeva said on October 10 that the People’s Council, or Halk Maslahaty in Turkmen, which was before its abolition in 2008 drawn from a motley assortment of mainly unelected public figures and community elders, will now become the highest representative institution in the country.  Nurberdiyeva said this move had previously been approved unanimously by parliament.

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Turkmenistan Downgrades Parliament in Favor of People’s Council

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