UPDATE 1-Turkmen leader's son set to run for presidency - report
MOSCOW, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Serdar Berdymukhamedov, the son of Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has confirmed he will join the race to replace his father in a presidential election set for March 12, Turkmen news website Salamnews reported on Monday.
President Berdymukhamedov, 64, announced at the weekend he was calling an early election. He said he would not seek another term after 15 years at the helm and wanted to allow a younger generation to take over.
His 40-year-old son, who is currently a deputy prime minister, is widely expected to succeed his father as president of the gas-rich Central Asian nation.
Serdar Berdymukhamedov was nominated by Turkmenistan's ruling Democratic party, Salamnews reported.
His father, whose current term had been due to expire in 2024, is also the prime minister of the former Soviet republic and the speaker of the upper house of parliament. He has indicated he plans to retain the speaker position.
The president - commonly called Arkadag or Protector by local media - has made clear his plans to pass power on to his son by quickly promoting him through positions including member of parliament, minister and provincial governor. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Gareth Jones)