Turkmenistan president’s son promoted to key government post

ASHGABAT – Turkmenistan’s autocratic president has promoted his only son to a key government post, a development seen as laying the foundations for a political dynasty in the energy-rich Central Asian country.

The appointment of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s son Serdar as Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs was announced in the government daily Neutral Turkmenistan on Saturday.

Berdymukhamedov, 64, chairs the government and has no prime minister, meaning his son would answer to him directly.

Earlier this year, the president appointed his 39-year-old son deputy prime minister in charge of innovative technologies – a post now abolished by the new presidential decree.

The president’s son, who previously served as a regional governor, cabinet minister and other senior positions, is widely seen as groomed to succeed his father, who has established a pervasive cult of personality since he was became the leader of Turkmenistan in 2006.

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Turkmenistan’s economy is heavily dependent on exports of its vast natural gas reserves.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, the Turkmen president expressed his dissatisfaction with a decline in hard currency earnings resulting from a fall in energy prices. He asked his son to step up his efforts to obtain international loans for investment projects and to work more actively to privatize some state assets, boost exports and encourage domestic production to reduce imports.

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