Turkmenistan votes for rubber-stamp parliament

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ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) – Voters in authoritarian Turkmenistan are choosing a parliament in an election that includes candidates from three parties and some independents, but no real opposition to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

The 125-seat Mejlis is largely a rubber-stamp body for Berdymukhamedov, who as president since 2007 has established a personality cult that reaches all levels of society, styling him as the Arkadag (protector).

Songs praising Berdymukhamedov played at one polling station in the capital Ashgabat on Sunday. The national elections commission reported turnout of more than 85 percent as of two hours before polls closed.

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