Turk­menistan’s pres­i­dent ends wel­fare sub­si­dies

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TURK­MENISTAN’S pres­i­dent on Tues­day or­dered an end to free nat­u­ral gas, elec­tric­ity and wa­ter, which res­i­dents of the ex-Soviet na­tion have en­joyed for a quar­ter cen­tury.

Gur­ban­guly Berdy­mukhame­dov said the move would en­cour­age a more ra­tio­nal use of the Cen­tral Asian na­tion’s re­sources. The de­ci­sion comes as the gas-rich desert na­tion has faced eco­nomic trou­bles be­cause of a slump in global en­ergy prices.

Berdy­mukhame­dov has ruled Turk­menistan since late 2006, when he as­sumed power after the death of his ec­cen­tric au­to­cratic pre­de­ces­sor, who had named the months of the year after his fam­ily mem­bers.

Berdy­mukhame­dov has es­tab­lished an elab­o­rate per­son­al­ity cult of his own, with state me­dia show­ing his prow­ess in an ar­ray of phys­i­cal dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing horse rid­ing, rac­ing cars, cy­cling and lift­ing weights.

The con­sti­tu­tion was amended to ex­tend the pres­i­den­tial term to seven years from five and elim­i­nate the age limit of 70, ef­fec­tively al­low­ing Berdy­mukhame­dov to be pres­i­dent for life.

Also on Tues­day, the Turk­men par­lia­ment re­vised the na­tion’s con­sti­tu­tion to set up the Peo­ple’s Coun­cil that will take over key leg­isla­tive func­tions. Next year, the new body will also take over du­ties from an­other or­gan, the Coun­cil of El­ders. The Coun­cil of El­ders on Tues­day named Berdy­mukhame­dov the Hero of Turk­menistan for the sec­ond time. – AP

Photo: AP

In this Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 12 file photo, Turk­menistan Pres­i­dent Gur­ban­guly Berdy­mukhame­dov greets the me­dia

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