Democratic Party of Turkmenistan
Published 13th April, 2011
The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT was founded in November 1991 following the fall of the Soviet Union and the declaration of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (TSSR) of independence.
The party was founded by Saparmurat Niyazov who had been First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR since 1985. In effect it became the successor to the old Communist Party, although it distanced itself from its predecessor’s ‘mistakes’.
The DPT is the only legal party in the country although Niyazov and his successor, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow have said on several occasions that new parties can form. Despite this, there is no mechanism for new parties to register.
For this reason the DPT has won every election since independence. It won all fifty seats in 1994, 1999 and 2004. It won all 125 seats in the new parliament of 2008.
In presidential elections, Saparmurat Niyazov was the only candidate in 1990, winning 98.3% of the vote. In 1992 he won 99.5% and in 1999 he was proclaimed as a lifetime president. In 2001 he declared that there would be fresh presidential elections in 2010. However, he died in 2006 causing a presidential election to be held in 2007 at which his successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, took on five other candidates and won 89.23% of the vote.