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Turkmenistan election spells change at top, little for public

President's heir Serdar offers quiet contrast to rally driving, horse riding father

Turkmenistan's Serdar Berdymukhamedov has seen his path to the presidency quickly truncated amid rumors of his father's ill health.   © Reuters

ALMATY -- The first dynastic succession in a Central Asian state is expected to go live on Saturday as Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov prepares to transfer power to his son, Serdar, through an election that observers say features no actual competition.

"It is all but guaranteed that Turkmenistan will have Serdar Berdymukhamedov as its new president," Aynabat Yaylymova, a Turkmen civil society activist who is based abroad, told Nikkei Asia. However, she said, "it is important for Turkmenistan to hold the elections to promote legitimacy."

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