The degree of institutionalization of an authoritarian regime is often somewhat ambiguous. But when a regime–and, even more, the country itself–has had only one leader, and his rule has been seemingly unchecked, the ambiguity is considerably less. So, it is hardly shocking that the interim president, selected by the Turkmenistani parliament after the unexpected death of dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, has suddenly had his constitutionally ineligibility for a full term lifted by parliament. The election–which almost no one expects to be fair–is set for 11 February.
Update: Robert Mayer has posted the best photo I have seen of the amazing (in an absolutely absurd sort of way) statue of “Turkmenbashi” himself.
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