Pro-Russian party tops Kyrgyz parliamentary polls

Party linked to President Atambayev gets close to a third of the votes with five other pro-Moscow parties also winning.

    Pro-Russian party tops Kyrgyz parliamentary polls
    The result of the vote is unlikely to alter the strongly pro-Russian foreign policy endorsed by all the competing parties [EPA]

    The Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), linked to pro-Moscow President Almazbek Atambayev, has topped the parliamentary election in the ex-Soviet state, with five other pro-Russian parties also winning seats.

    Results released by the country's Central Electoral Commission on Sunday showed the SDPK, founded by Atambayev, topping the hard-fought poll with close to 27 percent of the vote.

    In second place was the opposition Respublika-Ata-Jurt with over 20 percent of the votes cast.

    Minorities feel excluded as Kyrgyzstan head to polls

    An estimated 2.7 million voters were registered to cast their votes. 

    Since no party won a majority, a pro-Russia coalition government will be formed, presaging a continuation of the in-fighting that saw four cabinets collapse in the five years of the last session.

    The only other parties which passed the seven percent barrier required for parliamentary representation are also pro-Russian parties.

    The Kyrgyzstan party garnered over 12 percent while Onuguu-Progress, Bir Bol and Ata-Meken all won less than 10 percent each but got over the seven percent threshold after Sunday's vote in the fragile Central Asian state.

    Most of the parties competing in the election appeared to be alliances of convenience, targeting a regionally divided electorate without clear political platforms.

    All were pro-Russia groupings.

    The six that have made it into the new parliament were spearheaded by candidates from the outgoing legislature, although Bir Bol, Onuguu-Progress and Kyrgyzstan did not compete as parties in the 2010 election.

    Majority Muslim Kyrgyzstan's relatively strong parliament and civil society make it an outlier in authoritarian Central Asia, a landlocked region synonymous with ageing dictators and often-criticised human rights records.

    National harmony

    Radio Free Europe reported minor incidents of voter fraud and voting delays.

    The vote is unlikely to alter the strongly pro-Russian foreign policy endorsed by all the parties competing, or ease the serious economic and security challenges the country of six million faces.

    On a warm autumn day in the capital Bishkek, voters stressed the need for stability and national harmony, five years after a bloody revolution and ethnic violence that claimed over 500 lives.

    Reporter's Notebook: Kyrgyzstan's chance to stand out in Central Asia

    "I am for the Ata-Meken party because this party has a strong leader who does not divide the country into north and south," Abdyrahman Abdyrahman-Uulu, a pensioner told AFP news agency.

    Critics of the government accuse it of turning a blind eye to economic problems and warn of risks of Islamic radicalisation.

    The International Crisis Group this week released a gloomy report describing Kyrgyzstan as troubled by economic pain in Russia and instability in Afghanistan.

    These risks are "exacerbated by leadership failure to address major economic and political problems, including corruption and excessive Kyrgyz nationalism," the report said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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