Turkmenistan president nominated for third term
ALMATY – ReutersTurkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s Democratic Party has nominated him as a candidate in the February 2017 election, the state news agency reported late on Dec. 14. He is widely expected to secure a third term in office.
Berdymukhamedov, 58, has run the gas-rich nation of 5 million people since 2006, succeeding president-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov, known as “the father of the Turkmen,” who died the same year.
Like his autocratic predecessor, Berdymukhamedov maintains tight control over the former Soviet republic and brooks no dissent.
Berdymukhamedov was re-elected in 2012 with 97 percent of the vote.
Turkmenistan amended its constitution in September in a way that could allow Berdymukhamedov to stay in power indefinitely.
Berdymukhamedov, a dentist by training, set about dismantling Niyazov’s bizarre cult of personality - while creating space for his own.
Last year the government unveiled a 21-meter gold-leaf statue of Berdymukhamedov on horseback in Ashgabat.
This echoed a similar gold statue of Niyazov that revolved to follow the sun’s movements and once stood in the city center. Since his death, it has been relocated to the suburbs.