The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Observer Mission has arrived in Turkmenistan at the invitation of the Turkmen side to monitor the presidential election.
Members of the SCO mission believe that by granting international observers this opportunity to monitor the election campaign and the election process on the voting day shows the commitment of Turkmenistan's leaders to holding an open, transparent and democratic presidential election.
The SCO mission will fulfil its functions in line with the legislation of Turkmenistan and generally recognised norms of international election law, as well as the Statute of the SCO Observer Mission at Presidential and/or Parliamentary Elections and Referendums by honouring the principles of political neutrality and non-interference in the state's internal affairs and the voting process.
The mission includes representatives of legislative, executive and elective agencies of the SCO member states, as well as heads and officials of permanent SCO bodies, namely, the SCO Secretariat and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), with a total of 16 observers.
SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov heads the mission.
While in Turkmenistan, members of the SCO mission are to meet with senior officials of Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry, the Central Commission for Holding Elections and Referendums, the Institute of Foreign Relations of the Foreign Ministry, presidential candidates and their authorised representatives, members of district election commissions, voters, observers, representatives of political parties and citizens' advocacy groups, media outlets, as well as members of observer missions from other countries and international organisations.
On the voting day, members of the SCO mission are to visit as many polling stations in the capital and around the country as possible.
On 13 February 2017, the SCO mission will complete its work by issuing a statement on the results of monitoring the preparations for and holding of the presidential election in Turkmenistan. All of the mission's conclusions and findings will be based on an assessment of national election legislation by its members, on their personal observations and fact-finding work during the preparations for elections and on the voting day.
The SCO Observer Mission has extensive experience of international monitoring. Since 2004, when the Organisation received the international observer status for the first time, 39 missions have been established, including 14 for monitoring presidential election. Since then, the SCO has created its own monitoring methods, which on the whole is as efficient as those of other competent international organisations.