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Turkmen President Hands Son Regional Deputy Governor's Post

Serdar Berdymukhammedov is the son of the Turkmen president.
Serdar Berdymukhammedov is the son of the Turkmen president.

Turkmenistan's authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has appointed his son as deputy governor of the south-central region of Ahal.

The appointment of 37-year-old Serdar Berdymukhammedov was announced in a short statement published on January 2 on the Turkmen government's news site.

The move comes less than a year after the leader of the tightly controlled nation appointed his only son as deputy foreign minister.

The Ahal region borders Iran and Afghanistan. Its capital, Aneu, is located just 8 kilometers from the Central Asian country’s capital, Ashgabat.

In his new post, Serdar Berdymukhammedov will retain the seat he has held in the rubber-stamp parliament since 2016, but step aside as deputy foreign minister.

His appointment to that post in March 2018 was seen as a sign that he was being groomed as a presidential successor.

Before he became a lawmaker, Serdar Berdymukhammedov was chief of the Foreign Ministry's information department.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, 61, has ruled the gas-rich former Soviet republic since his autocratic predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, died in December 2006.

Government critics and human rights groups say he has suppressed dissent and made few changes in the restrictive country since he came to power.

President Berdymukhammedov also has three daughters and four grandchildren.

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