Kyrgyzstan elections postponed

Vote originally scheduled for later this year is put off following ethnic violence.

     Roza Otunbayeva, left, declared a state of emergency in Kyrgyzstan  [AFP]

    The Central Asian country has been gripped by strife since an uprising overthrew the government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on April 7.

    Roza Otunbayeva, the interim president, will not be eligible to stand in the new elections, Tekebayev said.

    On Wednesday, Otunbayeva's government declared a state of emergency in Jalalabad and the adjoining Suzak district until June 1, imposing a nightly curfew from 10pm to 6am, after violence flared at the University of the Peoples' Friendship, a stronghold for ethnic Uzbeks.

    Of Kyrgystan's 5.3 million population, ethnic Kyrgyz make up 69.6 per cent, Uzbeks 14.5 per cent and Russians 8.4 per cent.

    Kyrgyzstan's border with Kazakhstan, which has been closed since last month's uprising, reopened on Wednesday, the Kyrgyz border service said.

    Kyrgyzstan's border with Uzbekistan remains closed.

    The impoverished former Soviet republic is strategically important, hosting both Russian and American military bases.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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