FILE PHOTO: Turkmenistan's President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov speaks at a news briefing in Tbilisi, Georgia, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili/File Photo
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Isolated Turkmenistan's strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was sworn in Friday in a grand ceremony after securing over 97 percent of an almost uncontested vote at the weekend.Berdymukhamedov said his inauguration for a third consecutive term as the country's leader marked "a new era of presidential rule".In Sunday's election, the incumbent leader thrashed eight other token candidates that included subordinate regional officials and the director of a government-owned oil refinery, taking 97.7 percent of the vote.All eight candidates vigorously applauded Berdymukhamedov at the swearing-in ceremony.
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