Kyrgyz PM Holds Big Lead in Presidential Poll

Posted October 30th, 2011 at 6:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Kyrgyzstan's prime minister Almazbek Atambayev has taken a commanding lead in the country's first presidential election since last year's bloody uprising ousted the government.

With most of the votes counted, official results give Mr. Atambayev about 65 percent of the vote — far ahead of 15 other candidates.

They include former boxer Kachimbek Tashiyev, whose campaign is accusing officials of fabricating the results. Other candidates are also complaining of problems including people voting more than once, ballot box stuffing, and authorities refusing to let voters register.

International observers have not yet commented.

Kyrgyzstan hosts both U.S. and Russian military bases and is a crucial hub for NATO operations in Afghanistan. Some of the candidates have promised to respect the U.S. base lease, which expires in 2014.

Sunday's election comes a year after nationwide protests against corruption and poverty led to the ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

His overthrow sparked violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks, leaving hundreds dead and entire towns in ruins.