Turkmen Leader Prepares for Re-Election
|Publisher||Institute for War and Peace Reporting|
|Publication Date||10 December 2011|
|Cite as||Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Turkmen Leader Prepares for Re-Election, 10 December 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ee750b22.html [accessed 19 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
When the Galkynysh ("Revival") movement gathers for a national congress on 15 December, the top issue on its agenda will be deciding who to nominate in a presidential election early next year.
The congress was announced by Turkmenistan's president Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov at a recent meeting of the cabinet, which he chairs - there is no prime minister.
Berdymuhammedov is also chairman of the Galkynysh movement, an umbrella grouping consisting of the only legal political grouping, the Turkmenistan Democratic Party, which he once again heads.
A member of the Union of Women and Youth, also part of the Galkynysh movement, confirmed that the congress had been called to nominate Berdymuhammedov for a second presidential term.
The election is due on February 12, and Turkmen law requires nominations to start 60 days beforehand.
Berdymuhammedov's chances of winning are looking good.
"No one doubts that the Arkadag ["Patron"] will become president again," the women's union member said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "There isn't an alternative."
Candidates must be backed by a political party or gather 50,000 signatures in their support. That rather limits the options for anyone considering running – the president heads the only extant party.
Berdymuhammedov has previously extended an invitation to the Turkmen opposition in exile to come back and contest elections. Since many opposition leaders have been convicted of offences in absentia or declared "traitors to the motherland", they are unlikely to chance it.
Berdymuhammedov has ruled since early 2007, when he was elected unopposed following the sudden death of his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who had been in charge for 21 years.
This article was produced as part of IWPR's News Briefing Central Asia output, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.