Well, word has come to Berdimuhamedov and his inner circle that Turkmenistan needs multiple-party politics in order to be Taken Seriously by The West or something like that. Eternal Remont, among others, is not impressed with Berdimuhamedov’s decision.
In a nut shell, it seems the two-party system will be the existing party, just in two branches. The branches won’t be in opposition to each other at all. Just complimentary really.
So even if the new party is more than just window dressing, it is being created solely as a Agricultural Party, it is much more of an Agricultural Department of the current Democratic Party than it is a sort of current iteration of the BANU or other such Balkan parties built on agrarian principles. Daikhan will exist “to explain and implement the state agricultural policy,” which doesn’t sound like a loyal opposition in any sense of the term.
Chronicles of Turkmenitan’s Farid Tubahtullin goes on to note that Berdimuhamedov’s good friend Dadaev will likely have a large role in Daikhan. Tubahtullin also goes on to compare Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan uncharitably. I’m a bit more optimistic than Tubahtullin, but then again, I’m receiving information second- or third-hand from him. At least the creation of Daikhan shows a change of focus from an energy-based economy and at least purports to defer to the will of pastoralists and farmers. Of course, putting a chicken-farmer like Dadaev in charge means that it’ll just be a way for agribusiness and cotton produces to stand on somewhat more equal footing with the gas sector, and welcome in Monsantos along with Gazproms. Either way, its diversification for a leader who’s been adept in playing one foreign interest off another.
And all the while, the creation of a “Farmer’s Party” in 2010 does smack of being out-of-touch on the world stage. If Berdimuhamedov is creating this party to appeal to the west, it still seems to appeal to the Borat-as-Central-Asia motif that gets pasted on the region. I almost feel like they should just create a “America-hatin’ Islamicists Party” and “Crippling Misogyny Party” just to complete the image. I bet someone is already working on Eastward to Tatary II mentioning how the moving of the Arch of Neutrality (note the referring to Niyazov as a “cult leader” and the quoting of Ozymandias, respectively…and last I heard the Arch is still in the city center. This still true?) and the creation of Daikhan represents a Bold New Shift in Central Asian statecraft.