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OSCE says it will not monitor Turkmen election.

OSCE says it will not monitor Turkmen election.

Europe’s main government sponsored democracy watchdog, the OSCE, will not publicly judge the fairness of Turkmenistan’s presidential elections this month as it has had too little time to prepare, it said on Thursday.

Turkmenistan has never held an election considered free and fair but the Feb. 11 vote, triggered by the death in December of President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov, will be the first with more than one name on the ballot paper.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will send what it described as a support team and not a monitoring team.

"The team is not observing or monitoring the election as deployment of an election observation mission was not possible because of time constraints," the OSCE said in a statement.

"A public report is not foreseen."

Turkmenistan last month invited the OSCE to monitor the election.

Reuters February 1, 2007

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