Turkmenistan Political System

Political system

Short for TM by Abbreviationfinder, Turkmenistan is a republic in which the president and the government share the executive power. The president has by far the greatest powers because they appoint and lead the government. Multiparty systems should prevail, but in the elections, only the president’s own power party and a few small parties were allowed to run for office.

Turkmenistan’s first constitution was adopted in 1992, one year after the country’s independence from the Soviet Union. Additions have been made on several occasions, including 2008 when both the presidential power and parliament’s influence were strengthened. In September 2016, a new constitution was adopted in which the supplements were inserted. At the same time, the president’s term of office was extended from five to seven years. The basic human rights of citizens are guaranteed by the Constitution (though not in reality, see Democracy and Rights).

  • Countryaah: Total population and chart of Turkmenistan for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.

The president is head of state and government as well as commander-in-chief. They appoint their own government and can appoint and dismiss ministers. The president must ratify all laws passed by Parliament and in some situations they can make decisions by decree. The President is also entitled to appoint the members of the National Security Council, which has great influence over defense policy. She also appoints the country’s judges. The president is elected in direct and general elections for a seven-year term. There is no limit to how many times a person can be re-elected as president.

Between 1991 and 2006, all power was in practice concentrated on President Saparmurat Nijazov (Saparmyrat Nyýazow). In 1999, Parliament made him a lifetime president. When Nijazov died in 2006, he was replaced by Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who continued to govern the country in much the same way as Nijazov, that is, authoritarian and repressive (see Current Policy).

The legislative parliament (mejlis) has a chamber of 125 members, who are elected in general elections every five years. Through the 2008 constitution, Parliament regained control of the legislation, which had previously been with a so-called People’s Council (see Modern History).

Turkmenistan is divided into five regions (velayat), which is governed by each elected assembly and has its own administration. The executive power at the regional level is exercised by a governor (hakim), who is appointed by the president. The regions are in turn divided into districts (stages) and municipalities (gengeşe). Each district and municipality has its own local people council (halk maslahaty).

Political parties

Before the Constitution came into force in 2008, the only allowed party was President Nijazov’s own Turkmenistan Democratic Party (Türkmenistanyň democracy party, TDP), a successor to the Soviet Communist Party. Nowadays, multi-party systems should prevail, but in practice Turkmenistan was a one-party state until 2012, when the Party for Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Türkmenistanyň Senagatçylar we Telekeçiler Partiýasy, TSTP) was allowed to register. In the election the following year, TSTP was allowed to symbolically challenge TDP. TSTP is dependent on state party support for its operations. In the 2018 election, another party was allowed to stand: the loyalist Turkmenistan farmer’s party (Türkmenistanyň Agrar Partiýasy, TAP).

The actual opposition seems mainly in exile. The most important groupings are the Turkmen Human Rights Initiative (Adam Hukuklary Baradaky Türkmen Inisiatiwasy), based in Vienna; Turkmenistan’s United Democratic Opposition (Türkmenistanyň Birleşen Demokratik Oppozisiýasynyň), founded by former Foreign Minister Abdy Kulijev, with bases mainly in Moscow and Paris; Turkmenistan’s Republican Party (Türkmenistanyň Respiblikan Partiýasy, with leader Nurmuhammed Hanamow; and the Social Political Movement Fatherland (Watan Jemgyetçilik-Syýasy Hereketi, led by Hudaýberdi Orazov), which is said to be based in Sweden.

The domestic opposition groups that exist are being persecuted. To them belongs Unity (Agzybirlik), which mainly gathers intellectuals.

Alongside the political parties, much of the mandate in the elections goes to formally independent (in practice regime-loyal) groups, such as women’s associations, youth movements and trade unions. Forming parties on ethnic and religious grounds is prohibited.

Turkmenistan Urban Population



Plans for gas pipeline to India

Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India decide to jointly build a gas pipeline, called Tapi, from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. Funding is unclear, as is how the project can be implemented in the violence-affected area at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.


Gas to the EU via planned management

Turkmenistan decides to conduct gas via the planned Nabucco pipeline, which will make gas supplies to EU countries less dependent on Russia’s territory.


The first “independent” daily newspaper is published

The first issue of Turkmenistan’s first formally independent daily newspaper, Rysgal (Welfare), is published. However, Rysgal’s independence is apparent and President Berdimuhamedow writes on the leader’s side.


Gas exports to Russia resume

Russia begins to buy Turkmen gas again after the two countries resolved the conflict over the gas explosion in April 2009.

New gas pipeline to Iran

Turkmenistan opens a second gas pipeline to Iran. The first lead to Iran was inaugurated in 1998.