Turkmen president nominated for third term: state media
Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has officially become a candidate for a third term in next February's elections, state media said Thursday.
Berdymukhamedov’s candidacy was unanimously endorsed by the reclusive country’s Democratic Party, state news agency Turkmenistan Today said.
Two other parties, the Agrarian Party and the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, will announce their candidates later this month.
Berdymukhamedov, 59, has been in power since 2007, when he won his first election following the death of eccentric predecessor Sapurmurat Niyazov. He was reelected in 2012 and is likely to compete unencumbered by any serious opposition in 2017.
Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most tightly-controlled countries, has never held elections endorsed by credible international vote monitors.
Like Niyazov — who was accused of building up a bizarre of cult of personality during his reign — Berdymukhamedov has had a gold statue erected in his honour in the white marble-clad capital Ashgabat.
The ex-Soviet country has the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas, plus a rights record and tradition of isolation that regularly draw comparisons with North Korea.