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Nine Candidates Register To Run In Turkmenistan's Presidential Election

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov is one of nine running in the February 12 election.

Nine candidates have registered to run in Turkmenistan's presidential election on February 12, media reported on December 27.

Candidates who registered this week with the Central Commission for Elections and Referendums include the deputy head of the Mary region, Jumanazar Annayev; director of the Seidi oil refinery and parliament member Ramazan Durdyyev; deputy head of the Dashoguz region, Meretdurdy Gurbanov; chief of the department of economic development of the Akhal region, Serdar Jelilov; and the chief executive of Garabogazsulfat state concern, Suleimannepes Nurnepesov.

All of the candidates have been officially registered.

Earlier registrants included incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov; the chief executive of the Rysgal commercial bank and parliament member, Bekmyrat Atalyyev; the chairman of the Mary regional committee of the Agrarian Party, Durdygylych Orazov; and chairman of the State Association of the Food Industry, Maksat Annanpesov.

On December 25, Berdymukhammedov outlined his election program on national television and said that he is giving up further TV time allocated to him for the benefit of the other candidates.

Berdymukhammedov, 59, has been running the nation of 5.3 million since the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006.

Berdymukhammedov has control over all aspects of society and tolerates no dissent.

No election in Turkmenistan has been recognized as free and fair by Western monitoring organizations.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RFE/RL's Turkmen Service