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Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (file photo) (AFP)
August 5, 2007 -- Turkmenistan's president has taken helm of the only existing political party in the country.
State television said today that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's election on August 4 as leader of the Democratic Party further consolidates his power in the gas-rich Central Asian state.
Berdymukhammedov was elected earlier this year to succeed longtime autocratic leader Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December.
Berdymukhammedov also was named on August 4 as the leader of the Galkynysh (Revival) political movement, which includes the unions, as well as youth, veteran, and other organizations.
There were no other candidates.