Kyrgyz leader’s party wins election by landslide

A party controlled by Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev won a huge majority in a snap parliamentary election, early official results showed on Monday, although opposition parties complained of fraud.

Bakiyev’s Ak Zhol party won 47% of Sunday’s vote, the Central Election Commission said on its website, citing results after 70% of votes had been counted.

The only other party to pass the 5% threshold required to make it into the chamber was the opposition Ata Meken party, with 9,7%.

Once votes from parties who did not clear the bar are redistributed, the result should allow Ak Zhol to dominate the chamber in effective one party rule — a break from the country’s role of a relatively liberal state among more authoritarian Central Asian countries.

The election has drawn complaints of widespread fraud from the opposition. The less radical Social Democratic party failed to make it into the chamber, winning 4,7% of the vote.

The former Soviet state of five million people, home to both United States and Russian military bases, has been volatile since Bakiyev took power in 2005 when a disputed election sparked protests that ousted veteran leader Askar Akayev.

Bakiyev has been accused at home of backtracking on his pre-election promises to bring more democracy and stability. Both opposition parties believe he abused power in favour of his Ak Zhol party in the run up to the election.

”From the very beginning the election campaign has been marked by major violations,” said Omurbek Tekebayev, head of the opposition Ata Meken party.

Despite accusations of irregularities, many voters said they voted for Ak Zhol, seeing it as a guarantor for stability following years of political turbulence and street protests.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) election monitoring group’s verdict — an internationally accepted yardstick on the fairness of elections — is due later on Monday. – Reuters

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