September 28, 2022

Voting was underway in Turkmenistan Saturday for a tightly-controlled management election that’s all however sure to yield ex-Soviet Central Asia’s first father-son succession.

9 candidates are within the fray within the republic of six million individuals, however President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who tolerates no opposition and has dominated public life for the reason that nation’s founding president died in 2006, isn’t amongst them.

Berdymukhamedov senior signalled his resolution to step apart final month and permit “younger leaders” to manipulate.

The announcement has seen the function of victor-in-waiting fall to his son, Serdar Berdymukhamedov, 40, who has quickly risen to the highest of presidency.

A state tv announcer confirming the start of voting at 7:00 am (0200 GMT) on Saturday stated the elections confirmed “the irreversibility of the method of democratisation of recent Turkmen society”.

Polling stations that may shut at 7:00 pm (14:00 GMT) had been busy on a cloudy day within the capital Ashgabat, with younger Turkmen sporting both fits with black ties or embroidered ankle-length purple attire chatting and laughing within the queues.

Gulya Agayeva, 20, informed AFP she had been inspired to vote by her lecturers.

“They stated it’s our civic responsibility, that our future relies on our selection,” Agayeva stated, confirming that she had forged her vote for Berdymukhamedov junior.

Officers contacted by AFP had been unable to substantiate when preliminary outcomes could be introduced.

An inauguration ceremony has been scheduled for March 19, state media stated on Friday.

Berdymukhamedov senior, 64, advantages from a glitzy management cult that features a golden statue of him on horseback and elicits comparisons to North Korea — a rustic that has already witnessed two hereditary successions.

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Turkmen state tv pays fawning tribute to his hobbies — horse driving, songwriting and rally automotive driving to call a number of — and the so-called “protector” is a phenomenon on overseas social media, all of that are blocked.

The chief, who claims Turkmenistan has not suffered a single case of coronavirus, stated final month that he needs to stay in politics in his parallel function as chairman of the parliament’s higher chamber.

A lot much less is understood about Serdar Berdymukhamedov, whose authorities promotions obtained little public consideration till he entered parliament in 2016.

Few doubt that strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s 40-year-old son Serdar will take over the hermit nation’s prime job Photograph: AFP / Igor SASIN

Since then he has been a deputy overseas minister, the top of a province and business and development minister.

Final yr he received a triple promotion, taking over roles as deputy cupboard chair, auditor common and member of the safety council.

Civil servant Selbi Nepesova, 39, informed AFP that Serdar Berdymukhamedov’s official biography proves he’s “probably the most skilled” of the candidates, regardless of being youthful than his rivals, most of whom are low-ranking authorities workers.

“He could have his father shut by,” the Ashgabat resident stated, explaining her resolution to vote for him.

Turkmenistan’s economic system is nearly wholly depending on pure gasoline gross sales, making it susceptible to exterior shocks which have crippled the buying energy of residents, who don’t have any entry to onerous foreign money.

China has come to dominate this commerce, with one-time prime buyer Russia’s demand for the gasoline now below doubt amid crippling sanctions linked to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Turkmen state media has nearly utterly ignored the bloody conflict going down in Europe.

However on Friday it referenced “sophisticated circumstances” in Ukraine in a report on the evacuation of Turkmen college students pressured to flee the nation.

Predictably, the mouthpiece gave the outgoing president credit score for making certain the evacuation.

The returning college students “expressed their deep honest gratitude to the chief of the nation for his really fatherly care”, the state data service TDH claimed.

Turkmenistan’s upcoming father-son swap would be the first of its type in Central Asia, regardless of erstwhile predictions of household rule in Turkmenistan’s bigger neighbours Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Throughout the Caspian Sea within the Caucasus area, Azerbaijan turned the primary ex-Soviet nation to determine a dynasty when its present president Ilham Aliyev took the helm upon father Heydar Aliyev’s dying in 2003.

Tajikistan, the bloc’s poorest successor state, is predicted to comply with the same path, with higher home head Rustam Emomali, 34, in pole place to succeed veteran chief Emomali Rakhmon, 69, ought to Rakhmon retire or show unable to fulfil his duties.