Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow (or Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, Berdymukhammedov,..., born June 29, 1957) is a Turkmen politician who has served as the president of Turkmenistan since 2006. Berdimuhamedow, a dentist by profession, served in the government under President Saparmurat Niyazov as minister of health beginning in 1997 and as deputy prime minister beginning in 2001. He became acting president following Niyazov's death on 21 December 2006 and subsequently won the February 2007 presidential election. He faced no meaningful opposition in the vote and won by an overwhelming margin. In the February 2012 presidential election, he was re-elected with 97% of the vote. He uses the honorific title Arkadag, meaning "Patron".