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Secretive Turkmenistan speeds toward father-son power transfer

March snap election takes observers by surprise in rocky year for Central Asia

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov rides a horse in an Independence Day parade last September. He says it is time to transfer power to "young leaders."    © Reuters

ALMATY -- The next stage of Turkmenistan's dynastic power transition is underway, as long-term President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov prepares to hand the reins to his only son Serdar through a choreographed snap election called for March 12 -- two years ahead of schedule.

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