Turkmens to Vote For Parliament

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Turkmens go to the polls Sunday in a parliamentary election the West sees as a test of the Central Asian nation's commitment to bring about change after decades of isolation.

Critics say the poll is a sham and designed to put a gloss of democracy on a government that tolerates no dissent.

All the candidates in Sunday's election represent either the ruling Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, the only party registered in Turkmenistan, or a handful of state-approved independents.

Europe will be watching the vote closely as it tries to gauge how much business it can do with the gas-rich nation it sees as key to its energy diversification.