Turkmenistan’s president nominated for new term

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — A Conference of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, the country’s dominant party, has nominated incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov as its candidate in the country’s presidential election scheduled for February 12, 2017, the State News Agency of Turkmenistan reported.

Speakers in the Conference noted outstanding leadership and organizational skills of the Head of the State, his great services and achievements in the realization of national development programs, and his large experience of government activity and strategic thinking.

The December 14 nomination by the Democratic Party strongly signals that Berdymukhammedov, as expected, will be elected to a new term as president in the isolated, natural-gas-rich former Soviet republic, RFE/RL reports.

Berdymukhammedov, 59, has been running the nation of 5.3 million since the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006.

His current term is five years, but a new constitution adopted in September extended future presidential terms to seven years and scrapped a rule barring anyone over 70 from being elected president.

Berdymukhammedov has reversed several of Niyazov’s more eccentric policies and allowed for multiple candidates in presidential votes, but tolerates little dissent.

No election in post-Soviet Turkmenistan has been recognized as free and fair by international organizations.

Candidates from the Agrarian Party and the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs are to be announced soon, but their participation will be widely seen as an effort to put a veneer of democracy on the vote.

Sergey Kwan

TCA