Turkmen leader's son wins foreign ministry post after huge vote win


President of Turkmenistan Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov attends a news conference in Berlin, Germany 29 August 2016.

ASHGABAT - The son of Turkmenistan&39;s leader has been appointed deputy foreign minister, state media reported Saturday, just days after he scored a huge victory in a parliamentary election.

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Serdar Berdymukhamedov, 36, the son of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, won a whopping 91.4 percent of the vote to retain his seat in last Sunday&39;s poll, leading to suggestions he could be getting ready for a more prominent political role. 

He was appointed deputy foreign minister "by decree of the head of state", said the Neutral Turkmenistan government newspaper.

Some observers of the tightly-controlled country had expected the younger Berdymukhamedov - seen by some as a possible successor to his 60-year-old father - to become assembly speaker.

However, Neutral Turkmenistan said Saturday that another lawmaker, Gulshat Mammedova, 54, had been given the role.

According to the energy-rich country&39;s constitution, if the president is unable to fulfil his duties, they fall to the speaker.

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Serdar Berdymukhamedov was first elevated to the rubber stamp assembly in 2016, raising eyebrows in Turkmenistan where little is known about the leader&39;s family.

Presidential relatives have enjoyed preferential access to political power across former communist Central Asia, a region consisting of five majority-Muslim countries that were Soviet republics before the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

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