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Turkmenistan's Election Party Soured by Cold and "Low" Turnout

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov insisted presidential elections on February 12 should be held in festive spirit, and so they were. 

As is customary in Turkmenistan, music poured forth from several polling stations in Ashgabat as dance troupes did their bit, perhaps even upping the tempo a little to compensate for the unusual, subfreezing temperatures.

Also outside, stalls did a brisk trade selling sugary soft drinks, buns, pies, and the traditional Turkmen deep-fried sweet "peshme" snack. Girls in national costumes also stood at the entrances to the voting halls holding trays with free flat churek bread and peshme.

First-time voters and the over-70s were, as usual, given presents: cutlery sets, stationery. Perhaps most usefully, women were given lengths of fabric to turn into clothes.

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Turkmenistan's Election Party Soured by Cold and "Low" Turnout

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