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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Kyrgyzstan finishes registering candidates

From Kommersant:

Monday was the deadline for Kyrgyz presidential candidates to turn in their registration documents. By that time, the candidates had to hand in at least 50,000 signatures, a protocol of the meetings and congresses at which they were nominated, a personal statement of willingness to run for the office, confirmation that they passed the Kyrgyz-language exam and proof of payment of the $2500 election deposit.

Ten candidates made it to that point, and 11 others did not. Seven of the would-be candidates withdrew citing the agreement was reached between the two favorites – current Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev and retired general Felix Kulov, and the dangers of creating a schism in society. Among them were popular businessman Almazbek Atambaev and parliamentarian Bayaman Erkinbaev. Five candidates were unable to gather the required number of signatures.

No one has any doubts about how the election will turn out. With the support of Kulov, Bakiev's victory is practically guaranteed. Analysts are predicting a major lead for him as well, saying he will take 60-65 percent of the vote in the first round on July 10.

A much bigger headache than the elections for the current government is the continuing disturbances in Bishkek and the provinces. In spite of the fact that the Supreme Court building was liberated last week from the opponents of the current regime who had been occupying it, the judges have not returned to work. The former occupiers are now picketing the four-story mansion and only allow access to members of a special commission to solve the “judicial crisis.” The National Guard soldiers who are guarding the building have the sad look of the besieged.

The new government is coming under increasing criticism for its inaction in the face of corruption as well. There is a joke making the rounds: “Bribes used to be demanded to feed the family [of ex-president Askar Akaev]. Now bureaucrats take them to fight corruption.” To distract voters from the unresolved problems and new corruption, the authorities have organized a massive informational campaign on the actions of the members of the old regime, members of the ex-presidents family and his advisers. They also held a special session of the Security Council at which the actions of ex-president Akaev were named the main cause of the revolution. Last week, it was made known that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Adil Toigonbaev, Akaev's son-in-law, and this week an arrest order was issued for former prime minister Nikolay Tanaev.

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