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Turkmenistan Polls Open to Elect President

RIA Novosti

10:35 12/02/2012 ASHGABAT, February 12 (RIA Novosti) – Polls opened in Turkmenistan on Sunday in a presidential election, in which incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov is seen as the most likely candidate to win another term.

There are seven more candidates running in the election besides Bedymukhamedov, including Minister of Energy and Industry Yarmuhammet Orazgulyyev and Minister of Water Resources Annageldi Yazmyradov.

Berdymuhamedov has headed the gas rich nation since 2007. He became president after the death of Saparmurat Niyazov, who styled himself as Turkmenbashi, or the father of all Turkmen. His idiosyncratic rule saw the erection of statues and portraits of him go up all over the former Soviet republic.

While Berdimuhamedov has dismantled many of the attributes of Niyazov's rule, analysts say there is still little genuine political competition in Turkmenistan.

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