The unexpected death of Turkmenistan’s President Saparmurat Niyazov, has left an uncertain future for the Central Asian nation. With no designated successor, Turkmenistan's regional neighbors as well as the U.S., EU, and Russia have expressed the need to maintain stability as analysts warn of a power struggle to fill the vacuum. Carnegie Central Asia expert, Martha Brill Olcott, moderated a discussion on the upcoming presidential elections featuring Turkmenistan's two major opposition leaders living abroad, Nurmuhammed Khanamov and Khudayberdy Orazov, who spoke via live videoconference from Berlin.
Nurmuhammed Khanamov, a former Turkmen Ambassador to Turkey, is co-chairman of the Republican Party of Turkmenistan.
Khudayberdy Orazov, leads the opposition movement Watan (Fatherland). Opposition leaders agreed to put forward Mr. Orazov as their candidate in the upcoming presidential election, a choice which is in conflict with the recently revised Turkmen Constitution.
Martha Brill Olcott is senior associate in the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment. She specializes in Central Asia and the Caucasus and is the author of Central Asia's Second Chance (Carnegie, 2005).