Turkmen president wins 97% of vote in election

ASHGABAT - Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov secured five more years as leader of the Central Asian state by winning 97 percent of votes in an election shunned by OSCE observers for a lack of competition, the Central Election Commission said on Monday.
Berdymukhamedov, 54, had faced seven token candidates who held no ambition of dislodging the trained dentist as president of a country holding 4 percent of global gas reserves and ranked by rights groups among the most repressive in the world.
At polling stations on Sunday, performers in national dress danced and sang eulogies to their president, whose word is final in a desert country of 5.5 million people that borders Iran and Afghanistan. His subjects call him Arkadag - the Patron.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) declined to send observers after concluding that its presence would not "add value," given limited freedoms and the lack of political competition.