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Niyazov Calls For Presidential Election

Saparmurat Niyazov 2 February 2005 -- Saparmurat Niyazov, the president of Turkmenistan, says he wants to see a presidential election in his country in 2008 or in 2009.

Speaking today at a parliamentary session, Niyazov said that the election should have at least three candidates. He also told lawmakers that the mandate of future presidents should be restricted to two terms, or 10 years in office.

"A presidential election will be held, God willing. We will have at least three or four people [candidates] that will participate in the elections. They have the right to serve two presidential terms, as it says in our supreme law, in our constitution," Niyazov said.

He mentioned no specific date for the elections.

Niyazov, who in 1999 was conferred the status of lifelong ruler of Turkmenistan, regularly raises the issue of a presidential election, saying they should be held before his 70th birthday.

Niyazov turns 65 on 19 February.