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    Law extending powers of Turkmen parliament comes into force

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    ASGHABAT, January 13 (RIA Novosti) - A law extending the powers of Turkmenistan's parliament came into force on Tuesday after being published in the official press.

    On December 14 Turkmenistan voted in their first parliamentary elections, since the new constitution was adopted in September, as part of reforms announced by the country's president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, in the gas-rich ex-Soviet republic.

    The law will increase parliamentary seats from 65 to 125 and scrap the People's Council, an assembly of presidential appointees. The new constitution states that the powers of the People's Council, or the Halk Maslahaty, will be distributed between the president and parliament.

    Under the new law, the parliament is entitled to initiate and adopt new laws, amend the country's constitution and call presidential elections.

    The legislative body is now authorized to consider on the president's initiative the appointment and dismissal of the Supreme Court chairman, Prosecutor General, as well as justice and interior ministers.

    It can also make decisions on the state budget, international agreements and issues of peace and security.

    The parliamentary speaker is now empowered on the president's instruction to carry out foreign policy, represent the country in foreign affairs, as well as declare a pardon and amnesty.

    The law was adopted during the parliament's first session, on January 9.

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