Turkmenistan Leader's Son Wins Presidential Election

    Image copyright: Anadolu Agency

    The Facts

    • Serdar Berdymukhamedov, son of the current leader, has won the presidential race in Turkmenistan, one of the world's most tightly controlled nations.

    • The CEC said on Tues. that Serdar won 72.97% of the votes after an unusual vote-counting delay. On Sun., Turkmen officials reported that votes from the Sat. ballot were still being counted, including from citizens living abroad, with the final tally being announced a day later.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Whether this will bring change to the kingdom is still unknown, but there's hope that new leadership will lead to opening up and at least partial reform. As seen elsewhere in Central Asia, a more transparent, open, and rule-based country could attract foreign investment, and improve the lives of Turkmens.

    Narrative B

    This is unlikely to impact the political or economic situation in Turkmenistan. Little is known about Serdar's political views, and his father, who has established a strong cult of personality, will retain some political power as head of the Senate. The new administration in all likelihood will continue to exploit the nation's oil to enrich oligarchs, while ignoring the plight of the average citizen.

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