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11 Oct, 2010 04:28

Kyrgyzstan counts votes after election

The ballots are in for Kyrgyzstan's historic parliamentary poll, which international observers have praised as being fair and free.

But there are still some doubts among opposition politicians and election watchers that there were violations, which could overshadow the next government's attempts to affirm its legitimacy.

According to preliminary results, at least five of the 29 parties which took part in the election have attained the minimum number of votes required for parliamentary entry. The opposition Ata Zhurt, Ar-Namys and Republic parties, as well as the pro-government Social Democratic and Ata Meken parties, have overcome the 5 per cent barrier and will definitely make it into the parliament.

The turnout was rather high – 56.5 per cent of Kyrgyzstan’s 2.85 million eligible voters.

Before the election there were fears of violence, especially in the volatile city of Osh – the second-largest in Kyrgyzstan – which has been the scene of bloody clashes on several occasions during the year. This time everything went smoothly, security services report. There were no violations of public order in any parts of the country.

Peter Zalmayev, the director of the Eurasia Democracy Initiative, said switching to a parliamentary republic is vital for Kyrgyzstan as strong presidential power had repeatedly failed to prove its viability in the country. He said such a move could bring the nation peace, ethnic reconciliation, transparency and accountability in the government. He added it could even bring economic benefits for the population, as the authorities negotiate the lease of the US Air Force base.

Dr Aleksey Malashenko, a political expert from the Carnegie Center in Moscow, says coalition talks will now be needed to form a government in Kyrgyzstan.

“First of all we have to wait for the emergence or creation of a political coalition. We know that there is no total winner in these elections – five parties, I believe, will form this governmental coalition, and it's very important in order for the members of this coalition to represent the interests of some layers of the Kyrgyz society,” Malashenko told RT.