Kyrgyz, Tajik elections: less than democratic

Assailants threw a grenade into the empty apartment of a prominent Kyrgyz opposition leader March 3, causing no casualties, in an attack both opposition and authorities accused each other of staging.

The blast occurred days after the first of two rounds of a tense parliamentary election in the Central Asian state that observers said fell short of international standards for democracy.

Roza Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister and an outspoken critic of veteran President Askar Akayev, told Reuters: "I believe the authorities were behind this," she said. "They are trying to scare me."

Observors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed irregularities in the election

The opposition is also crying foul play in Tajikistan, where parliamentary elections were also held this week. While final results in Kyrgyzstan are pending a run-off election, Tajikistan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party swept to a crushing victory. RFE/RL reports that authorities’ manipualtion of administrative resources and the media in the prelude to the vote is being decried by the opposition and foreign observors in both countries.

Since 9-11, the US has established a large military presence in Tajikistan and especially Kyrgyzstan, despite its authoritarian government.