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Is Berdimukhamedov going to be president-for-life of Turkmenistan?

Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov. Photo: stanradar.com

The ad hoc committee headed by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov has completed its work on the new constitution of the country, and mainstream media have published the draft constitution “for a nation-wide discussion”. Afterwards, the draft basic law will be submitted to the parliament.

Experience shows that the government will have no problems with making the constitutional amendments legitimate. Key features that make the new document different from the existing one are the presidential term that has been increased from the current 5 to 7 years and the lifting of age restrictions for the candidates for president. Experts say the new constitution looks to give more powers to the incumbent president, who already has very wide powers, as the country’s export earnings are shrinking dramatically.

The incumbent president Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, 58, was re-elected for the second term in 2012. The country’s constitution does not limit the presidential terms, but sets age restrictions for the presidential candidates – 70 years.

It is noteworthy that neighboring Tajikistan also plans constitutional amendments to enable incumbent president Emomali Rahmon to run for unlimited number of terms as well as to reduce the minimum age requirement for the presidential candidates to 30 years. In fact, the amendments pave the way for the president’s son Rustam Emomali.  

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