Turkemenistani election victory labelled a sham

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The Independent Online

President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov won a new five-year term by capturing 97 per cent of the vote, officials said yesterday, but a Western expert said the poll was a sham.

All of Mr Berdymukhamedov's seven opponents praised his leadership, making the authoritarian leader's victory a mere formality. In fact, the incumbent improved on his 2007 performance, when he captured 89 per cent of the vote.

But Annette Bohr, at the Chatham House think-tank in London, said the polls presented only the facade of a democratic process. "It is the typical faux democracy that you see in so many countries," she said.