Turkmenistan’s president appoints his son deputy PM

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan’s autocratic president has promoted his only son to be a deputy prime minister in a move seen as laying the basis for a political dynasty in the energy-rich Central Asian nation.

The appointment of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s son, Serdar, was announced Friday in the government’s daily Neutral Turkmenistan. Speaking at a meeting with top officials, Berdymukhamedov said his son would be in charge of innovative technologies.

Serdar Berdymukhamedov, who had previously served as a regional governor and then a Cabinet minister, is widely viewed as being groomed to succeed his father, who has established a pervasive cult of personality since becoming Turkmenistan’s leader in 2006.

Berdymukhamedov presides over the government and doesn’t have a prime minister, meaning that his son would answer directly to him in the new position.

In addition to the deputy prime minister’s job, Berdymukhamedov also named his son the head of the country’s Control Chamber, the top state audit body, and made him a member of the presidential Security Council.

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

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