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Turkmenistan Prepares to Bury President-For Life

Authorities in Turkmenistan have tightened security, as the former Soviet state prepares to bury its president-for-life, Separmurat Niyazov, who died Thursday.

Turkmenistan's Security Ministry issued a statement Saturday pledging to maintain calm and stability until a new leader is named.

Delegates from foreign governments will be attending the funeral on Sunday, including representatives from Turkey, Iran, Russia and the United States.

The 66-year-old strongman died of an apparent heart attack without designating a successor, raising concerns about a struggle for power in the gas-rich nation.

Kurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, who was appointed acting president after Mr. Niyazov's death, said Friday that officials will meet Tuesday to set a date for elections to choose a successor to the late president.

Berdymukhamedov said the People's Council will set a date and approve candidates for the post.

The constitution says the parliament speaker, Overzgeldy Atayev, should take over the presidency. But officials blocked the move because of a criminal probe against Atayev.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.