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Kyrgyz President appears headed for landslide win

Last Updated: Friday, July 24, 2009 - 10:11

Bishkek: Election officials in Kyrgyzstan said early Friday that partial results from the
Presidential Election give incumbent Kurmanbek Bakiyev an overwhelming lead of around 90 percent of votes counted.

The Central Election Commission released the results based on returns from 587 of the 2,330 polling districts, around 25 percent of votes cast in this mountainous Central Asian nation.

The main opposition candidate, Almazbek Atambayev, has dismissed yesterday`s election as fraudulent and called for a rerun. Atambayev claimed widespread ballot-stuffing and the intimidation of opposition election monitors. He also charged that official turnout of nearly 80 percent was inflated.

Atambayev won just over five percent of votes counted, according to the commission`s data.

The dispute over the legitimacy of the election has set the stage for nationwide protests in the Central Asian nation, which hosts a US air base crucial to operations in Afghanistan and is the focus of competition between Washington and Moscow for regional influence.

Political turmoil has wracked Kyrgyzstan, a poor country of five million on China`s western border since 2005, when street protesters drove the Soviet-era leader out of office and ushered Bakiyev to power.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, July 24, 2009 - 10:11

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