MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Snap presidential elections in Turkmenistan are scheduled for March 12, the republic’s Central Election Commission told TASS on Saturday.
“Yes, the president gave the instruction to hold them,” the Central Election Commission said.
As reported by the Turkmen State News Agency, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov told a session of the upper house of the republic’s parliament on February 11 that he had taken “a difficult decision on himself” and stressed that the way to the organs of power at a new stage of the country’s development must be given to young leaders.
He also said he intended to channel more of his “extensive life and political experience” into this area.
Berdymuhamedov has been the head of the Central Asian republic since 2006. He became interim president after the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006 and won the presidential elections on February 11, 2007, obtaining 89.23% of the voters’ vote . After his election, he pledged to continue Niyazov’s policies but said he would make Turkmenistan “more open”.
Over the next few years, Berdymuhamedov took steps to integrate Turkmenistan into the international community and to loosen domestic state policy. He was re-elected as head of state in the presidential elections of February 12, 2012, during which he obtained 96.7% of the vote. Berdymuhamedov is also the speaker of the upper house of the country’s parliament.