Asia

Turkmenistan does away with age cap for president

FILE- In this Nov. 23, 2015 file image, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with his Turkmenistan counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov during their meeting at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, summit in Tehran, Iran. Lawmakers in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan have adopted Wednesday 14 September amendments to the country's constitution, paving the way for a life-long presidency for the incumbent leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. (Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP file)

FILE- In this Nov. 23, 2015 file image, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with his Turkmenistan counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov during their meeting at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, summit in Tehran, Iran. Lawmakers in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan have adopted Wednesday 14 September amendments to the country's constitution, paving the way for a life-long presidency for the incumbent leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. (Sergei Chirikov/Pool photo via AP file)  (The Associated Press)

Lawmakers in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan have adopted amendments to the country's constitution, paving the way for a life-long presidency for the incumbent leader.

Turkmenistan's parliament and Council of the Elders on Wednesday voted unanimously to extend the presidential term in office from five to seven years and do away with the 70-year age limit for the head of state.

Turkmenistan, arguably the most authoritarian former Soviet republic, has been ruled by 59-year old Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a trained dentist, since 2006 when he succeeded the previous president who had been granted a life-long presidency.

Berdymukhamedov was re-elected for his second term in office with 97 percent of the vote in 2012.