Turkmenistan declares 'happy epoch' after president's win

By Staff Reporter
AFP Global Edition

Feb 27, 2012 14:51 EST

Turkmenistan on Monday declared it had entered a new era called the "happy epoch of the mighty state" following its president's crushing re-election in polls earlier this month.

"The uplifting and inspiring slogan of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, 'the happy epoch of the mighty state', will be a new stage in the development of the country," the government daily Neutral Turkmenistan announced.

The slogan is a "call for our future achievements and great deeds," it added.

Berdymukhamedov was sworn in for a second term on February 17 after winning over 97 percent of the vote in elections in which his seven rival candidates appeared only too happy to let him win.

Turkmenistan is fond of giving names to periods in its post-Soviet history -- the rule of Berdymukhamedov's eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov is now known as the "golden age of the Turkmen".

Berdymukhamedov's first term in office after Niyazov's death was known as the "era of rebirth" as he dismantled the most outrageous excesses of his predecessor, who built a revolving golden statue of himself in the capital.

To commemorate the "new era", Neutral Turkmenistan published verses penned by a poet named Khodzhamukhammet Kakalyyev.

"In Turkmenistan a new era has begun/ All the Earth is lit up by the light dawn/ The glory has enveloped the heart with an aura of greatness/ And in the mighty state a happy time has started!," the poem read.

Berdymukhamedov, who runs one of the world's most isolated states, has been accused by critics of embarking on only the most timid reforms and installing his own personality cult to replace the one of the late Niyazov.

Source: AFP Global Edition


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