Turkmenistan’s god-president set to transcend politics altogether?
Berdimuhamedov has withdrawn from the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan’s leadership position and membership, saying that it is a necessary step to fulfill the necessary preconditions for an effective mutli-party system. His stated reasoning is that merging the party chairmanship with the presidency is not conducive to creating an equal and level playing field for other political parties, and moreover, that as president he intends to leave party politics altogether. He also suggested that other cabinet ministers should follow his example.
So, is this more political cosmetics, or substantive? The former Soviet union is filled with transcendental “super-presidents” (want to read a great book on the subject? read Postcommunist Presidents, published in 1997 and still basically valid). Berdimuhammedov’s decision could very well mark the end of communist-style totalitarianism, which basically followed an equation of People=President=Party, for post-communist-style totalitarianism, in which dominant parties are replaced by either “personalist” parties or god-presidents.
Will Berdimuhammedov’s eventual role be to supervise all parties? And as to elections, will he run as a canditate without a party? Or does he aim to become ultimately a king-like leader who does not need to elected? You know, that last idea is really worrying, as there are signs that he has been investing a lot of effort into his grandson…