Turkmenistan formally ends 1-party system

Associated Press

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan has formally ended its one-party system with the creation of a business-oriented political party. But the new group's arrival is unlikely to substantively lead to democratization in the authoritarian state.

The TDH state news agency said Tuesday that 300 delegates from business groups around the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation attended the founding congress of the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan.

Elections to be held in 2013 look likely to formally end the Democratic Party's two-decade-long monopoly in parliament. The Democratic Party was created on the basis of the dissolved Communist Party in 1991.

It is highly unlikely that the new party would have been allowed to exist without the approval of Turkmenistan's President Gurbanbuly Berdymukhamedov, who runs the country with an iron fist.

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