Turkmenistan has held parliamentary elections that were denounced by exiled opponents of President Saparmurat Niyazov as a farce.

In the single-chamber parliament, 50 seats were up for grabs in the elections in the former Soviet Central Asian republic.

Election officials rejected opposition allegations that the parliamentary vote, held every five years, is a farce.

The officials say voter turnout at midday was over 60 percent, but news agency reports said polling stations were nearly empty.
President Niyazov, who is 64, enjoys virtually unlimited powers and a flourishing personality cult. The president permits no dissent, and his Democratic Party is the only registered political party.

The president has resisted democratic and economic reforms and cracked down on dissent since an alleged assassination attempt in 2002.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.