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Turkmenistan president rewrites constitution to let him rule for life

Published: February 16, 2016
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Source: The Guardian

Turkmenistan’s president Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has established a cult of personality as the nation’s economy struggles. Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

A commission led by Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has drafted a new constitution that extends the presidential term to seven years from five and removes the upper age limit on candidates for presidency.

The move solidifies Berdymukhamedov’s already sweeping powers at a time when the gas-rich Central Asian nation is suffering from a sharp drop in export revenues.

Turkmenistan’s rubber stamp parliament is expected later this year to pass the new constitution, published by main state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan on Monday for national discussion.

Berdymukhamedov, 58, is serving his second term as president after securing re-election in 2012. The current constitution imposes no limits on the number of terms he can run for, but sets a ceiling for presidential candidates’ age at 70 years.

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