BISHKEK/OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan’s Moscow-backed prime minister claimed victory on Monday in a presidential election, but observers reported some voting abuses and supporters of defeated candidates rallied in the south of the restive former Soviet republic.
With 99 percent of ballots counted, pro-business Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev had 63 percent of the vote, an outright majority that would avoid the need for a second round run-off against a potentially strong rival from the south.
BISHKEK/OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan’s Moscow-backed prime minister was poised to become president of the strategically important former Soviet republic on Monday, with nearly all votes counted in a poll set to be disputed by rivals alleging electoral shortcomings.
The vote is a test of reforms designed to make Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked country of 5.5 million, the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia after 20 years of failed authoritarian rule that triggered a bloody revolution in April last year.
TASHLYQ, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Ethnic Uzbeks voting in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election on Sunday backed a candidate with ties to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the leader most likely to protect them from renewed violence in the former Soviet republic.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, 55, is favorite to become the next president of the strategic Central Asian state of 5.5 million people.
BISHKEK (Reuters) – A leading candidate to become Kyrgyzstan’s next president said on Friday that “millions” would rise to overthrow the leaders of the Central Asian republic if Sunday’s election was rigged.
The presidential election threatens to expose a north-south cultural divide in the mainly Muslim country of 5.5 million as it attempts to complete its first experiment with parliamentary democracy after two decades of authoritarian rule.
ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a tough religion law Thursday including a ban on prayer rooms in state buildings, aimed at stamping out Islamist militancy but criticized by Kazakhstan’s top Muslim cleric and the West.
Nazarbayev, 71, has ruled Kazakhstan for more than 20 years as a secularist autocrat. Until this year, the 70 percent Muslim country largely avoided the Islamist violence seen in other central Asian ex-Soviet states like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
ALMATY, Oct 6 (Reuters) – A U.S.-based media watchdog
demanded on Thursday the release of a radio journalist jailed
for five years in Turkmenistan, saying his sentence was
punishment for his independent reporting.
Dovletmurad Yazguliyev, a local correspondent for the
Turkmen service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was sentenced on Wednesday on
charges of inciting a relatives’s suicide attempt, the New
York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a
Kazakhstan’s top Muslim cleric hit out on Friday at a tough new law on religious activity and warned that the restrictions it imposed on pious Muslims could spur extremism. Article 7 of the bill, which was passed by the Senate on Thursday and has already been approved by the lower house, bans prayer rooms in all state institutions.
ALMATY, Sept 12 (Reuters) – The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development said on Monday it had
adopted a new three-year strategy to support Kyrgyzstan’s
economy which has been hit by a year of political upheaval.
In April last year a bloody revolt deposed President
Kurmanbek Bakiyev and in June 2010 southern Kyrgyzstan saw
ethnic riots in which more than 400 people died.
ALMATY (Reuters) – The U.S.-based human rights body Freedom House has demanded the immediate release from prison of a Kazakh labor lawyer, saying trumped-up accusations were used to punish her for supporting striking oil workers.
A court in western Kazakhstan sentenced Natalya Sokolova on Monday to six years in jail for “inciting social unrest” and “organizing illegal gatherings” at a Sino-Kazakh oil venture hit by a strike that began in May.
ALMATY, Aug 9 (Reuters) – A court in Kazakhstan has jailed a
lawyer who advised striking oil workers on their rights, leading
human rights bodies to accuse the authorities of stifling
dissent and quashing labour union activity.
The city court of Aktau in western Kazakhstan sentenced
labour union lawyer Natalya Sokolova to six years in jail on
Monday after finding her guilty of “inciting social discord” and
“organising illegal gatherings”.