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10 Oct, 2010 16:01

Five parties cross election threshold in Kyrgyzstan

With over 90 per cent of votes counted in Kyrgyzstan, five parties have made it to the national parliament after a landmark election which will see the country become Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy.

According to the Central Election Commission, preliminary data shows that five factions have managed to cross the 5 per cent threshold required to gain seats in the parliament, Jogorku Kenesh.

Topping the list are the nationalist Ata-Zhurt (Fatherland) party and the Social Democratic Party, reported RIA Novosti. They are followed by the Ar-Namys (Dignity) party of former Prime Minister Feliks Kulov, the Respublika party headed by ex-deputy PM Omurbek Babanov, and the Ata-Meken socialist party.

Some experts believe that the political fight is not over as the parliament will now have to form a new government and that might require creating a coalition.

“It is may not be true that the leading Ata-Zhurt party will be able to form the government,” Kyrgyz political analyst Mars Sariyev told Interfax. “It may happen so that Ata-Meken, the Social Democrats and Respublika will form their own alliance,” he added.

All in all, candidates nominated by 29 parties were competing for 120 seats in the parliament. A total of 2,289 polling stations in Kyrgyzstan, and 44 outside the country, were available on election day. The average nationwide turnout by the closing time of the elections was 55.75 per cent.

Kyrgyzstan’s interim president Roza Otunbayeva praised the election process as “free, democratic and open.”

We have not had such elections in the last two decades. All Kyrgyz citizens in cities and villages came to polling stations and without any pressure, any dictate, without any 'merry-go-round' and other illegal election schemes could vote for the parties which they consider strong and fair and which can protect their interests in the parliament," Interfax quoted Otunbayeva.

Surprisingly, the highest turnout (more than 66%) was registered in the city of Osh, which was the centre of political turbulence and violence not long ago.

During the day, security was tightened at polling stations to protect the count, but so far there were no reports by international observers of any serious legal violations or trouble.

Interior Minister Zarylbek Rysaliev stressed in his interview to Itar-Tass that the police maintained tight control over the elections. He did not rule out, however, that “destructive forces” might try to destabilize the situation after the election.

“There have been rumors that such attempts are possible, so we are taking precautions,” he noted.

According to Akylbek Sariyev, head of the Kyrgyz Central Election Commission, the voting finished “without serious incidents”. He also vows that no complaint will not be investigated.

While officials and observers have not reported any significant violations in the elections, representatives of some parties have accused local authorities of improperly using administrative resources. They have also promised to prove their statements about large-scale violations.

Several parties who took part in the elections had organized an alternative count of ballots to prevent possible fraud.

The elections in Kyrgyzstan are believed will bring about a long-awaited peace to the country, after it suffered heavy clashes between the Kyrgyz population and ethnic Uzbeks in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad following the ousting of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

However, Andrew Mcentee, former OSCE observer in Kyrgyzstan, believes that a parliamentary-based government system may not lead to stability in the region.

“The curious situation is that, somehow in the political culture it is felt that while the power is being taken away from the presidency and given to the parliament, nevertheless, the prize is still the presidency. Besides, the immediate neighbors – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan – would rather see the project of creating a parliamentary-based government system fail,” Mcentee told RT.