Turkmenistan has a new leader. The son of the dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov won the presidential “election” and became the new foreman of the isolated state. According to the Central Election Commission, 40-year-old Serdar Berdymukhamedov received 72.97% of the vote.
Turkmenistan has been leading Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov since December 2006. He has built a personal cult around him under the name “Arkadag” or Protector. He likes to show off his physical strength by performing stunts, like shooting a target while cycling, driving a sports car into a volcano crater or lifting an iron bar (without weights) to loud applause from the closet.
Economically, Turkmenistan mainly depends on its large gas reserves. Under Gurbanguly’s leadership, China has replaced Russia as a major buyer of gas. The country gained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but no elections since the country’s founding have been considered fair. It is also difficult for outsiders to enter the country.
Gurbanguly, 64, announced the “elections” last month, saying the country should be run by young people. In Turkmenistan, there is also a minimum age for presidential candidates: by law they must be at least 40 years old. Gurbanguly’s son Sirdar recently celebrated his 40th birthday.
Read below the picture
Never before fair elections
In total, there were nine presidential candidates in Saturday’s election. After Sardar, university employees Khirdir Nunaev received the largest number of votes: 11 percent. It took longer than usual to announce the results; On Sunday, authorities said they needed more time to count the votes. Usually, Turkmenistan announces preliminary results the day after the elections. This was the case in 2017, for example, when dictator Gurbanguly was said to have been ‘elected’ again with 97 per cent of the vote.
Serdar Berdymukhamedov has already held several prominent government positions. Recently, he held the position of Assistant Prime Minister of the country, under the direct leadership of his father. “My main goal is to continue the glorious path of development built over thirty years of independence and the successful implementation of policies that contribute to a high level of social conditions for the people,” the new president said in a televised address. The former dictator Gurbanguly remained the speaker of the Turkmen parliament.
American-British talk show host John Oliver, who presents American Week Tonight, has previously shed light on the sometimes somewhat bizarre ways in which the dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov tried to demonstrate his power:
Unlimited free access to Showbytes? And that can!
Sign in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
Zombie specialist. Friendly twitter guru. Internet buff. Organizer. Coffee trailblazer. Lifelong problem solver. Certified travel enthusiast. Alcohol geek.