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article imageKyrgyz PM wins presidential vote, opponents vow to fight on

By Bradley Axmith     Oct 31, 2011 in World
Bishkek - Former prime minister Almazbek Atambayev won more than 63 percent of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election, a contest that appears to have avoided the violence some expected, despite allegations of irregularities and isolated incidents of violence.
“Despite flaws with the voters lists and tabulation processes, we are cautiously optimistic about the future of democracy in Kyrgyzstan. Significant work is still needed at all levels for this country to live up to its commitments to hold democratic elections,” said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, the Special Co-ordinator for the OSCE observer mission to Kyrgyzstan and Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation.
Mr. Atambayev’s opponents in the campaign were not convinced the poll was conducted fairly and vowed to manifest opposition through protest.
“I do not recognise this election,” Kamchybek Tashiyev, who gained 15% of the vote, said following the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) preliminary release of Sunday’s results.
Some gatherings manifested in the town of Osh, the scene of bloody clashes in June of last year that resulted in
Kyrgyz armoured vehicles patrol the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh during violent protests 15 April 201...
Kyrgyz armoured vehicles patrol the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh during violent protests 15 April 2010.
Human Rights Watch
500 dead and scores more injured.
The head of the CEC, Tuigunaly Abdraimov, admitted that fraud was registered in some precincts, including ballot stuffing and denial of service, but that the poll was largely legitimate.
In addition to election-day irregularities, 11 media bureaus were denied accreditation to follow the campaign, according to NewEurasia.
“The election made clear that serious action is needed to ensure the integrity of voting, counting and tabulation. This is crucial for consolidating democratic practice. Full transparency of the Central Election Commission’s work would significantly improve confidence in elections,” said Corien Jonker, Head of the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Adahan Madumarov, like Tashiyev the only serious contender and hailing from the south was livid, charging the OSCE with “lying” and promising to send his supporters out to protest, according to Eurasianet.
The former prime minister, who won most of the Russian-speaking north, has the support of Moscow, which carries considerable economic leverage.
Mr. Atambayev’s previous post enabled him to use official resources during the campaign, a fact that led to the CEC sanctioning him publicly and the prevalence of acrimony toward him among those in the south who voted predominantly for Madumarov and Tashiyev.
On Monday, the head of the Kyrgyz parliament, Ahmatbek Keldibekov, spoke to the main presidential contenders urging them to “sit at the negotiating table and reach a consensus on the future development of Kyrgyzstan,” the News Agency reported.
Mr Keldibekov released a statement claiming all candidates had agreed to resolve disputes within the legal channels of parliamentary protocol, though small protests continued Monday evening in the two biggest southern towns, Jalal-abad and Osh.
There have been two regime changes in the last six years, the last one in April 2010 removed in a maelstrom of civil strife strongman Kurmanbek Bakiyev who himself came to power following a bloodless coup in 2005, called the Tulip Revolution.
Rosa Otunbayeva was named president by the Kyrgyz parliament in 2010 until elections could be held the following year.
Should the results stand, it will mark the first time in the post-Soviet history of Central Asia that a peaceful transition will have transpired through a democratic process.
According to the 2010 constitution of this country of 5.5 million, the president can only serve for one six-year term.
More about Kyrgyzstan, Election, Osce, Central asia
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