Kyrgyzstan election results contested

Kyrgyzstan’s incumbent Kurmanbek Bakiyev claims an 85% of the vote in the weekend’s presidential election. But challenger Almazbek Atambayev is questioning the results, and flew to Moscow to discuss the issue with Russian leaders. The Union of Civic Organizations, an independent Kyrgyz election monitoring group, said it had documented several violations, including “massive ballot stuffing.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has yet to congratulate Bakiyev on his victory. Neither Russia nor the US has explicitly commented on the conduct of the election.

The US and Russia both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan, and Washington signaled last week that it has no objections to Moscow opening a second base in the Central Asian nation. “Any such decision is obviously the sovereign right of the government of Kyrgyzstan,” US Undersecretary of State William Burns told reporters. “Our view is that any step that strengthens the sovereignty and independence and security of Kyrgyzstan is a sensible one.”

A Kyrgyz government source told AFP that Russia had won permission to open a base in Osh, a city in southern Kyrgyzstan, which would operate under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). (Reuters, July 27; NYT, July 25; AFP, July 13)

See our last post on Kyrgyzstan and the Great Game for Central Asia.

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  1. Kyrgyz crackdown
    Police in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, detained 64 opposition demonstrators July 29 after marches protesting the results of last week’s presidential election. President Bakiyev won with 76% of the vote in an election that the OSCE said “fell short of key standards Kyrgyzstan has committed to.” An opposition candidate, Almazbek Atambayev, who withdrew his candidacy during the balloting, has contested the vote. Joomart Saparbaev, a spokesman for Atambayev’s party, said that hundreds of people protested in the capital and in nearby regions. (NYT, July 29)