Serdar Berdimuhamedow

Turkmenistan’s president appoints his son deputy prime minister

As part of a government reshuffle, Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has named his son Serdar deputy prime minister. The appointment comes after several months of speculation about the political rise of Berdimuhamedow junior.

This article was originally published on Novastan’s German website on 14 February 2021.

Serdar Berdimuhamedow’s political rise continues. Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow made his only son deputy prime minister for digitisation and innovative technologies on 11 February, Turkmenistan’s state news agency TDH reports. The 39-year-old Serdar was previously minister of construction and industry.

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The post of deputy prime minister for digitisation and innovative technologies was created on the same day. As reported by Turkmenportal, the office includes the chair of the Supreme Control Chamber, which manages government spending, and membership in the State Security Council. The president of Turkmenistan signed the corresponding decree “to further improve the work of the cabinet and the State Security Council, as well as to strengthen control over state property“.

Cabinet reshuffle

The appointment of Serdar Berdimuhamedow goes hand in hand with a general government reshuffle. According to the Amsterdam-based news site Turkmen.news, another deputy prime minister and the minister of agriculture and the environment were replaced.

Myratgeldi Meredow, who was deputy prime minister in charge of fuel and energy, was dismissed for “serious deficiencies” in his work and replaced by the former rector of the International Oil and Gas University Şahym Abdrahmanow.

The agriculture minister Magtymguly Baýramdurdyýew was relieved of his post on the same grounds. His deputy Altanur Altyýew succeeds him. As for Serdar Berdymuhamedow, his previous deputy Baýmyrat Annamämmedow is taking over as minister of construction and industry.

A step fuelling speculations of further political rise

Serdar Berdimuhamedow’s appointment as deputy prime minister is likely to have been just another step up the career ladder. The president’s son took up his previous office as minister of construction and industry almost exactly a year ago. Before that, he had been governor of the Ahal Region, bordering Iran, for a good six months and, even earlier, deputy foreign minister and member of parliament.

Read more: Central Asia in 2020: the year in review

Such an appointment comes as little surprise, but it nevertheless reinforces the rumors that Serdar could succeed his father as president. As early as November 2020, a source from government circles told Turkmen.news that Berdimuhamedow Junior would be promoted either to a leadership role in the Supreme Control Chamber or to the Halk Maslahaty, the upper house of parliament. The source further claimed that a transfer to the Supreme Control Chamber was more likely, given that the constitutional reform which created the upper house was still very recent.

As Turkmen.news notes, observers still assume that the constitutional reform is part of a transfer of power. The constitution now states that, should the president die or become incapacitated, the chair of the Halk Maslahaty will succeed them. It is therefore not unlikely that Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow will either promote his son to the head of the Halk Maslahaty in the foreseeable future or even hand over the office of president to him during his lifetime.

Robin Roth
Editor of Novastan Deutsch

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