The Turkmen authorities fear unrest in the Mary velajat
A delegate of the Halk Maslahaty (People's Council of Turkmenistan) who insisted on anonymity says that the Mary velajat or region will be run by security structures pending election of the president on February 11, 2007.
The delegate wished the Mary velajat with more than 2 million living in it had nominated at least one candidate for president. Acting president Gurbankuly Berdymuhammedov (a candidate for president) is a self-nominee from the Mary velajat but this is not his native region. Even in the Halk Maslahaty Berdymuhammedov represents the Cabinet and not the Mary velajat. It was announced at first that every velajat including the capital would nominate at least one candidate.
Another source in the Halk Maslahaty claims that officials of the National Security Ministry from Ashkhabad will be assigned to every district of the Mary velajat. They will be essentially in charge of everything pending the election. Moreover, instructions from Ashkhabad make it plain that Berdymuhammedov must be elected the president. Sources believe that Berdymuhammedov's self-nomination from the Mary velajat was deliberate because the authorities fear that some other candidate may be nominated from the down-trodden region.
The Halk Maslahaty nominated six candidates for president. Berdymuhammedov, former health care minister and former prime minister, is the prime candidate.