Asia

Turkmenistan's leader wins presidential election

  • Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, center, greets journalists after casting his ballot at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)

    Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, center, greets journalists after casting his ballot at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Turkmen woman dressed in traditional costume casts her ballot at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)

    A Turkmen woman dressed in traditional costume casts her ballot at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Turkmen woman dressed in traditional costume casts her ballot at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)

    A Turkmen woman dressed in traditional costume casts her ballot at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)  (The Associated Press)

Turkmenistan's Central Election Commission says the incumbent leader has won the presidential election.

Commission chairman Gulmurat Muradov told reporters on Monday that Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov won 97.7 percent of the vote in the gas-rich Central Asian nation. Muradov said the results from Sunday's election are preliminary and that election authorities still have to count ballots cast in Turkmenistan's embassies abroad.

Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic since late 2006, when he assumed power after the death of his eccentric predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov.

The country last year amended the constitution to extend the presidential term to seven years from five, and eliminated the age limit of 70, effectively allowing Berdymukhamedov to be president for life.