Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Bakiyev wins presidency

Presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan held on Sunday ended with an expected outcome - Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who became Kyrgyzstan's interim leader after its president fled an uprising three months ago has won an overwhelming victory. With 99% of the ballots counted Bakiyev received nearly 89 percent of the vote, giving him an insurmountable lead over five challengers, said Central Election Commission chief Tuigunaali Abdraimov. Bakiyev's nearest rival in Sunday's vote tallied less than 4 percent.

Bakiyev has been acting president since March 25, the day after demonstrators stormed former President Askar Akayev's offices and sent him fleeing into exile. Activists were angered over Akayev's alleged manipulation of parliamentary elections, reminds the AP.

Akayev, who had led the country since before its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union, fled to Russia before formally stepping down. Sunday Akayev came to polling station in the embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Moscow but he was not listed among those eligible for voting. When his name was put in an extra list for voters he felt offended and left the embassy without voting, reports

Bakiyev served two years as prime minister under Akayev, but in 2002 resigned after police killed six peaceful demonstrators. Many believe he was pressured to resign by Akayev to deflect criticism of his own leadership.

Bakiyev turned against the president and got himself elected to parliament.

Bakiyev has spent much of his efforts trying to cool political tensions and has been criticized for failing to set any definitive new policies into motion.

To shore up his support ahead of the election, Bakiyev pledged to give the premiership to the man who was expected to have been his main rival, Felix Kulov.

"The unique thing about this election is that, for the first time in recent years, elections really means elections in the full meaning," Bakiyev said after casting his ballot Sunday in Bishkek, the capital.

A joint team of foreign observers said Monday that the Kyrgyz presidential vote this week showed "tangible progress" in meeting international standards on free and fair elections.

In a statement issued by the joint mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Parliament, the 340 monitors from 45 countries, the body rated Sunday's elections as "good" or "very good."

"Fundamental civil and political rights, such as the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly, were generally respected, and the improved media environment provided the field of candidates with opportunities to present their views," the monitors' statement said.

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