The son of incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, candidate of Turkmenistan’s ruling Democratic Party Serdar Berdymukhamedov won a March 12 presidential election in Turkmenistan with 72.97% of the vote, Turkmenistan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on Tuesday March 15.

His nearest opponent in a field of nine candidates, Hydyr Nunnayev, an independent candidate nominated by the initiative group of Ashgabat City, garnered just 11 percent of the vote.  

Meanwhile, some media reports say there was an unexpected wait for the result, after authorities said on Sunday they needed more time to count the votes.

The CEC announced on March 15 after an unusual delay that Serdar Berdymukhamedov, 40, secured nearly 73 percent of the vote.

With wining the presidential election, Serdar Berdymukhamedov reportedly established a political dynasty in one of the world’s most tightly controlled countries.

Early presidential elections were held in Turkmenistan on March 12, 2022.  This was Turkmenistan's sixth presidential election and decided the country's president for the next seven years.

On February 12, 2022 the Mejilis (Turkmenistan’s lower house of parliament) passed a resolution scheduling the election for March 12 in accordance with Article 81 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan.

The incumbent president's seven-year term was cut short by two years.  The early election comes after the incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said he was ready to resign, with his son Serdar Berdymukhamedov seen as the potential next president.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, 64, announced the vote last month, saying the country should be run by younger people.

He had been Turkmenistan’s leader since he was first appointed acting president when the eccentric Saparmurat Niyazov died in December 2006.

No election since Turkmenistan's independence in 1991 has been judged by international observers to be free or fair, with the country being described as a totalitarian dictatorship.