Nothing less than Berdimuhamedov landslide expected in Feb 12 Turkmen election

By bne IntelliNews February 10, 2017

Turkmenistan will on February 12 hold its third presidential election since the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov in 2006.

The outcome of any presidential election in an authoritarian Central Asian country is always known in advance - the ruling dictator is bound to win a crushing victory. In Turkmenistan’s case, the landslide triumph is due from Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Berdimuhamedov has served as president of the oppressive Central Asian republic since 2006, when he replaced Niyazov, the country's first post-Soviet president, who had a cult-like status and declared himself the "Head of All Turkmen".

Though he has largely followed his predecessor's example, Berdimuhamedov has reversed some of Niyazov’s most outrageous policies, such as the naming of certain months of the year after family members, attempts at creating ice palaces in what is one of the world’s hottest countries and the banning of all opera performances. Nevertheless Berdimuhamedov has engaged in creating his own personality cult. He has, for instance, published 35 books on topics such as herbal medicine and rugs and has become known for "winning" rigged horse-riding competitions.

Human Rights Watch notes that “there are no free elections in Turkmenistan, nor is there a free media, and citizens cannot freely protest in the street. Turkmenistan is one the world’s few countries that regularly bars thousands of its citizens from traveling abroad”.

Related Articles

Iran rejects idea that a Caspian Sea settlement is in sight

Iran’s foreign ministry has rejected the suggestion that the five littoral states that share the shore of the Caspian Sea have largely agreed to delineate its maritime borders and settle their ... more

Turkmenistan to take Iran to arbitration over $1.8bn gas supply claims

Turkmenistan announced plans on December 5 to take a dispute with Iran over $1.8bn Tehran supposedly owes for Turkmen natural gas deliveries to international arbitration. Tehran says the figure is ... more

Turkmen budget revenues to decline in 2018, but more questionable spending expected

The Turkmen parliament recently adopted the country’s state budget for 2018 with expected revenues at TMT95.5bn (€22.9bn at the official rate), or TMT8bn less than in 2017 ... more