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Turkmen Opposition Seeks Single Presidential Candidate

Nurmukhammed Hanamov (file photo) (RFE/RL) December 25, 2006 -- Members of Turkmenistan's opposition today said they intend to agree on a single candidate to run in Turkmenistan's presidential elections.

Former Turkmen central bank chief Khudaiberdy Orazov and former Turkmen Ambassador to Turkey Nurmukhammed Hanamov made the announcement at a press conference in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.

They also called on Europe, Russia, and the United States to help foster democracy in Turkmenistan following the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov.

Orazov, Hanamov, and other members of the Union of Democratic Forces of Turkmenistan, a coalition of Turkmen opposition groups, arrived in Kyiv on December 23 hoping Ukraine's government could help arrange a flight for them to Turkmenistan.

The opposition representatives want to attend the scheduled session of the Halk Maslahaty (People's Council) on December 26 when the date and candidates for the presidential election are due to be named.

Turkmen security agencies have already warned the opposition leaders they will be arrested on arrival at any Turkmen airport should they try to return.

On December 21, Turkmen state media announced Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's death. Niyazov was buried on December 24 in his native village of Gipchak.


Saparmurat Niyazov, 1940-2006

Saparmurat Niyazov, 1940-2006

Turkment President Saparmurat Niyazov (

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