Turkmenistan may emerge as a global powerbroker

While the world is watching Ukraine, there is another former Soviet republic that has quietly undergone regime change. Turkmenistan’s 65-year-old former president, known, in the manner of a comic book superhero, as ‘The Protector’, stepped down in February. With Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s departure, the Mejlis Assembly duly called for elections on 12 March. As regime changes go this one was hardly revolutionary. The Protector’s son, having just turned 40 (the minimum age at which a candidate can stand for the presidency) won the election at a canter. The only surprise was that Serdar, ‘The Son of the Nation’, won just 73 per cent of the vote compared to his father’s 97 per cent winning