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Turkmenistan Launches 'Discussion' On Extending President's Term


Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (file photo)

Turkmen state media are reporting that a "public discussion" over constitutional amendments to extend the president's term and drop the age limit for candidates has been launched.

The state campaign that was launched on February 15 envisions extending the presidential term of office from five to seven years and scrapping the 70-year age limit for candidates.

The changes look set to strengthen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's nine-year grip on power in the authoritarian Central Asian country.

The next polls are set for 2017, when Berdymukhammedov's current five-year term ends and the president, now 58, will face reelection.

The "discussion" was launched in Turkmenistan five days after lawmakers in another Central Asian nation -- Tajikistan -- set the date for a referendum on constitutional amendments that would allow the Tajik president to run an indefinite number of times.

With reporting by AFP
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    RFE/RL's Turkmen Service

    RFE/RL's Turkmen Service is the only international Turkmen-language media reporting independently on political, economic, cultural, and security issues. The service, which operates in one of the world's most-closed countries, relies on an unofficial network of contributors.

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