Jan 5, 2007

El Nuevo Turkmenbashi?

Six presidential candidates hit the campaign triail this month in Turkmenistan. The election is set to fill some rather monstrous shoes. Indeed, how is one to follow the Turkmenbashi himself, Father of the Turkmen people.

Acting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (no joke, that’s really his name) looks to stay in the job, never mind the Constitution clearly stated he was ineligible for his current post. Not to worry. The legislative assembly promplty changed the Constitution to allow Berdymukhammedov to assume the position.

Such capricious play with the Rule of Law in Turkmenistan bodes ill for a country which fostered one of the most virulent Cults of Personality in the world. Indeed, the Turkmenbashi’s towering gold plated statue still rotates to face the sun in downtown Ashgabat.

While the candidates talk of “reform” in the run-up to the Feburary election, it remains to be seen just how committed they are to fulfilling the campaign script.

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