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Reelected Turkmen President Makes First Cabinet Moves

Reelected President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at his inauguration in Ashgabat on February 17
Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has made the first appointments to his new cabinet in the wake of his landslide reelection win earlier this month.

Officials say he elevated a previous deputy minister of culture, Guncha Mammedova, to the minister's post.

He has also appointed Gyzygul Nurgeldiyeva to head the Turkmen State Publishing Service, reappointed Bekdurdy Amansaryev as head of the Turkmen State Information Service, and named Shadurdy Alovov as chairman of the State Committee for Television, Radio, and Cinematography -- all potentially significant posts in a country where officials keep tight reins on public discourse.

Major power posts in the government, such as the foreign, defense, and security portfolios, are expected to be announced later this week.

Berdymukhammedov was reelected after receiving 97.14 percent of the vote in an election on February 12, according to Turkmen election officials.

Critics call the vote symbolic, with no real challenge to Berdymukhammedov allowed by authorities.

Western election observers have never recognized a post-independence Turkmen vote as free or democratic.

Based on RFE/RL Turkmen Service and agency reports