MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Early presidential elections in Turkmenistan have been scheduled for March 12, the republic’s Central Election Commission told TASS on Saturday.
"Yes, the president has given an instruction to hold them," the Central Election Commission said.
As the Turkmen state information agency reported, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov said at a session of the upper house of the republic’s parliament on February 11 that he had made "an uneasy decision on himself" and pointed out that the road to the bodies of power at a new stage of the country’s development must be given to young leaders.
He also said that he intended to further channel his "vast life and political experience" into this sphere.
Berdymuhamedov has served as the Central Asian republic’s leader since 2006. He became acting president after the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006 and won the presidential elections on February 11, 2007, gaining 89.23% of the electors’ votes. After his election, he pledged to continue Niyazov’s policy but stated that he would make Turkmenistan "more open."
In subsequent years, Berdymuhamedov took some measures aimed at integrating Turkmenistan into the international community and easing the state’s internal policy. He was re-elected as the head of state in the subsequent presidential elections on February 12, 2012, in which he secured 96.7% of the votes. Berdymuhamedov is also chairman of the upper house of the country’s parliament.