Kyrgyz president's party gains victory in parliamentary elections

According to early results of parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's Ak Jol party seems to gain an overwhelming victory over the rivals in this strategically important Asian country.

The opposition allegedly accused Ak Jol of ballot-box stuffing, the AP reports.

Central Election Commission reported that with more than 80 percent of ballots counted by present moment, nearly 48 percent of electors voted for Ak Jol.

Omurbek Tekebayev’s Ata Meken paty follows Ak Jol with 9.2 percent.

Only two parties, Ak Jol and Ata Meken, took the hurdle of 5 percent to gain seats in the one-chamber, 90-seat legislature.

However, Ata Meken didn’t clear the second regional hurdle of 0.5 percent in two southern areas with its largest city Osh, where Bakiyev’s support was considered the strongest.

Critics have said that the change of election codes including regional hurdle, introduced in October, was made to remove the opposition from the government.

Another major opposition group, the Social Democratic Party of former prime minister Almazbek Atambayev, was in the third position with 4.7 percent, according to first results.

The election in this ex-Soviet republic has been dogged by allegations of widespread violations and tensions between rival political parties, heightening worries about the stability of the nation that hosts the last U.S. base left in energy-rich Central Asia.

Opposition groups had threatened to hold mass protests if there were any signs of meddling.

"This election is an absolute falsification," said Ata Meken leader Kubatbek Baibolov. He alleged that election observers across the country were barred from monitoring the vote count.

But he signaled that his party would accept the official outcome.

Senior Social Democrat official Roza Otunbayeva said her party would challenge the official election results.

Election officials "insolently kicked us out and counted votes by themselves," she said.

A coalition of nongovernmental groups that monitored the election said Monday that it was rife with violations, and called for the vote to be declared invalid.

Citizens Against Corruption issued a statement citing numerous instances of alleged ballot-stuffing, multiple voting and obstruction of independent election observers.

Alleged fraud during the 2005 parliamentary vote led to mass protests that drove then-President Askar Akayev from power.

The nation of five million has since been in continuous political turmoil, with Bakiyev clashing with defiant lawmakers over the extent of his powers and government appointments, as well as frequent street protests.

Kyrgyzstan had long been considered the most liberal among Central Asia 's five predominantly Muslim nations, but Bakiyev has faced criticism for attempts to tighten control.

The continuing instability is also fueled by the strong regional north and south divide between Kyrgyz politicians. Bakiyev is a southerner, while most of his opponents come from the north.

The election campaign has been more about politicians mobilizing support in their home regions rather than candidates trying to win nationwide support by offering attractive economic and political platforms.

The U.S. military here helps support operations in nearby Afghanistan. The government of neighboring Uzbekistan, angered by U.S. criticism of its human rights record, kicked out American troops in 2005.

Kyrgyzstan, which borders China, also hosts a Russian air base.

China, Russia, the United States and others are competing for access to Central Asia's oil, hydropower potential, strategic metals, pipelines and transit routes.

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