Seat of government: Aşgabat.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: One-party state. In theory, the president is elected directly, while the legislature (Mejilis) is elected in geographical constituencies.
Governing party: Türkmenistanyň Demokratik Partiýasy.
Head of government: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president.
Assessment: The autocracy of Saparmyrat Nyýazow (1985-2006), self-proclaimed “Türkmenbaşy”, took personality cult to modern highs. He was the last head of the local branch of the ruling party in the Советский « Sovetskiĭ » period. After independence (1991), he began concentrating power in his own hands, eventually having himself declared president for life; he used totalitarian methods and symbolism to control his subjects, and a belief system centered around his theories, captured in his book ‘Ruhnama’, stood alongside الاسلام « ɔal-Ɔislām » as a state religion. In 2005, he closed all hospitals and libraries outside of the capital, while spending lavishly on tributes to himself. Following his death (2006), Berdimuhamedow was named acting head of state, though Nyýazow’s absolute style of personal rule left no room for a clear succession. Berdimuhamedow’s presidency was then confirmed by the régime in a show election in 2007, repeated in 2012 and 2017.
FH: 7-7, not free. Econ: 1.72 (165), authoritarian.
Updated: 2017 March 23.