Easy succession in Turkmenistan?

When Turkmenistan’s dictator died last week of a sudden heart attack, Western analysts collectively wondered: What happens now? Meanwhile, the Turkmen were busy moving ahead with post-Turkmenbashi plans: ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan’s main legislative body rewrote the country’s constitution Tuesday to allow the country’s interim leader — in power for less than a week — to ...

605265_turk_funeral5.jpg
605265_turk_funeral5.jpg

When Turkmenistan's dictator died last week of a sudden heart attack, Western analysts collectively wondered: What happens now?

Meanwhile, the Turkmen were busy moving ahead with post-Turkmenbashi plans:

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan's main legislative body rewrote the country's constitution Tuesday to allow the country's interim leader — in power for less than a week — to succeed the late authoritarian leader.

When Turkmenistan’s dictator died last week of a sudden heart attack, Western analysts collectively wondered: What happens now?

Meanwhile, the Turkmen were busy moving ahead with post-Turkmenbashi plans:

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan’s main legislative body rewrote the country’s constitution Tuesday to allow the country’s interim leader — in power for less than a week — to succeed the late authoritarian leader.

Acting President Gurbungali Berdymukhamedov and five other candidates won approval to participate in the Feb. 11 presidential election to replace longtime leader Saparmurat Niyazov, who ruled the isolated Central Asian nation for 21 years with an iron grip until his death last week.

Berdymukhamedov was nominated by Ondzhik Musayev, the leader of the country’s only political party, the Democratic Party. The five other approved candidates are a deputy energy minister, two town mayors, one deputy regional governor and one district head — little-known politicians apparently seen as necessary to create an appearance of a pluralistic election. […]

Questions about how closely the constitutional procedures would be followed arose within hours of the announcement of Niyazov’s death. The constitution says the speaker of Parliament should become acting president, but the role was taken by Berdymukhamedov, the deputy prime minister, and a criminal case was opened against the Parliament speaker. 

Those concerned that Niyazov’s death will mean an end to absurdity in Turkmenistan’s politics need not worry: After essentially seizing power, Berdymukhamedov promised to preserve Turkmenistan’s “ancient democratic traditions” just as Turkmenbashi once did.

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