As the Ashgabat correspondent of Turkmenistan.ru reports, a ceremony of inauguration of the new president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, was held at the 19th session of Halk Maslakhaty at the Ruhiyev palace in Ashgabat. 2487 members of Halk Maslakhaty and numerous foreign guests, including heads of states and governments from some 30 countries, attended the ceremony. The delegation of Russian Federation was led by Russian prime-minister Mikhail Fradkov.
After the results of voting in the presidential election were announced and approved by the members of Halk Maslakhaty, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov was declared president of Turkmenistan. The guard of honour brought in the flag of Turkmenistan, the presidential standard and the Constitution of Turkmenistan. Berdymukhammedov took the oath holding his arm on the Constitution. He officially assumed office starting that moment. To the audience's applause, the chairman of the central election commission, Myrat Garryyev, presented him with a certificate of the Turkmen president. Honourable elders from five Turkmen provinces also presented him with a chain of office.
According to traditions, the new president of Turkmenistan, standing on a white felt mat as a blessing for good luck, was given bread and salt as a symbol of prosperity and well being. He also was given a quiver with arrows symbolizing the people's unity. Then, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov bowed to Koran and a copy of Ruhnama.
The new head of state delivered a speech to the people of Turkmenistan. In his speech he thanked the people of Turkmenistan for their trust and support promising to continue reforms in agriculture, education, industry and healthcare. The president promised to continue providing the population of Turkmenistan with free gas, electricity and cooking salt. Bread, public transport, utilities, fuel and communication prices will remain low. The number of education establishments will be increased. Secondary education will be 10 years. The number of students will be also increased. Housing construction will be paid greater attention. Those who wish to build a private house or buy a flat will be given soft credits.
"I will strictly follow the policy of neutrality designed by Saparmyrat Turkmenbashi the Great and approved unanimously by the UN," the new leader of Turkmenistan said. We will also strictly follow our international commitments and obligations. As I stressed in my earlier speeches, we will adhere to and steadily fulfil international agreements on the delivery of energy resources to the foreign market. We will develop equal and mutually beneficial cooperation."
In conclusion, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov called on the citizens of Turkmenistan to actively participate in reformation of economic, social and cultural life of the country. "A thousand mile journey begins with one step," the president summarized.
According to the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Cabinet of Ministers resigned after the election of the new president of Turkmenistan. The Cabinet of Ministers will fulfil its duties until the formation of a new Cabinet of Ministers.
A festive concert was given in the end of the Halk Maslakhaty. After the concert, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov received a report from the commander of the guard of honour in front of the Ruhiyet palace. The guard of honour ceremonially marched in front of the new supreme commander-in-chief.
Berdymukhammedov received congratulations from the high foreign dignitaries who arrived for the inauguration ceremony. Later, his motorcade left for the presidential palace.
Fireworks were let off in the evening in Ashgabat to mark the election of the new president of Turkmenistan.