Country Listing

Turkmenistan Table of Contents


Government and Politics

Government: Many Soviet-era officials still in place, 1996; constitution of 1992 stipulates democratic separation of powers, but presidency sole center of actual power under Saparmyrat Niyazov. Legislative branch, fifty-member Milli Mejlis, has same ratification functions as Soviet-era Supreme Soviet. Judiciary very weak--judges appointed by president; Supreme Court reviews constitutionality of legislation. Sixty-member National Council with advisory function, actually subsidiary to presidential power.

Politics: Constitution guarantees political freedom, but former Communist Party, now Democratic Party, dominates and retains same structure and propaganda machine as in Soviet era. Niyazov's cult of personality provides further domination. Small, weak opposition groups concentrate on single issues; some groups outlawed.

Foreign Relations: Basic policy "positive neutrality"--noninterference and neutrality toward all countries and attempts to establish relations as widely as possible. Marketing and transport of natural gas and oil given priority in foreign economic deals. Remains independent of other Central Asian and CIS countries when possible, but maintains strong bilateral military and economic ties with Russia.

International Agreements and Memberships: Member of United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Islamic Development Bank, and CIS.

Data as of March 1996