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Turkmenbashi Foresees Resignation -- But Not Now

26 October 2004 -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov hinted yesterday that he might leave office after elections in six years.

Niyazov moved in 1991 from being ruler of the Soviet republic to running independent Turkmenistan. He told the People's Council yesterday that, "When I turn 70, please release me." He turned 64 in February. The council has elected Niyazov as president for life, and members urged him to reconsider.

Niyazov carries the honorific title Turkmenbashi, or Father of the Turkmen, and has had numerous public objects, a seaport, and even a meteorite named after him.