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Turkmenistan Sets Presidential Election Date

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Turkmenistan has announced that presidential elections will be held on February 12.

Parliament's decision on August 5 comes a month after a surprise move by the country's autocratic ruler, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, to allow banned opposition parties to run in the election.

Turkmenistan, home to the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, has a history of political repression.

Berdymukhamedov came to power in a 2007 vote widely seen as unfair, replacing the 21-year dictatorship of Saparmurat Niyazov.

compiled from agency reports