Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared its independence on October 27, 1991. Saparmurat Niyazov became the first president of the new republic and still remains the supreme decisionmaker. On December 28, 1999, Niyazov’s term was extended indefinitely by the Mejlis (parliament), which itself had taken office only a week earlier in elections that included only candidates hand-picked by President Niyazov; no opposition candidates were allowed.
If you happen to be in Turkmenistan it’s probably best to smile and look like you’re having a good time – everything I’ve read says President Niyazov isn’t big on dissention.
And here I thought we Canadians had a flag that was hard to draw (Those maple leaves are a heck of a lot harder to draw than you might imagine). My hand is cramping just thinking about all the poor primary schoolers in Turkmenistan who have to draw this: