Alexa

Turkmen opposition urges West to push for democratic election in their country

Turkmen opposition urges West to push for democratic election in their country

Turkmen opposition figures on Monday urged Western leaders to press for a democratic election in their country after the death of Turkmenistan's longtime authoritarian President Saparmurat Niyazov.
Niyazov, who died Thursday after two decades of rule that produced an all-encompassing personality cult, left no apparent preferred successor.
"Niyazov is gone, and we believe that the main mischief is gone," Nurmuhammed Khanamov, a former Turkmen ambassador to Turkey turned exiled opposition leader, said at a news conference in the Ukrainian capital.
Khanamov urged world leaders to "render assistance to hold an open, democratic election ... in which the opposition can participate."
Another opposition leader, Turkmenistan's former Central Bank chief Khudaiberdy Orazov, said that an opposition presidential candidate would be named in the near future.
On Tuesday, Turkmenistan's chief legislative body was to set a date for elections, but one-party rule does not appear threatened in the Central Asian country.
Niyazov had led Turkmenistan since 1985 and held absolute power after the desert nation of 5 million that lies north of Afghanistan and Iran became independent with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1999 he was named president for life.
Niyazov isolated Turkmenistan from the outside world, erected gold statues and busts of himself everywhere, ordered citizens to call him "Turkmenbashi" and renamed the month of January after himself _ and April for his mother.
Khanamov and Orazov pledged to melt down all gold statues of Niyazov after they come into power in the country.
The opposition leaders also said that they do not plan to reconsider gas agreements. Turkmenistan's natural gas deposits are second only to Russia's in the former Soviet Union and Russia's pipelines serve as the only transit route to other ex-Soviet republics and Europe.


Updated : 2021-03-03 17:25 GMT+08:00