The small Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan held elections recently. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the incumbant president, was returned for a second term.

But European monitors say the poll was flawed with widespread ballot box stuffing and voting fraud. This will come as no surprise to many people in Kyrgyzstan.

Bakiyev first assumed power on the back of the so-called Tulip Revolution and since then has been accused of systematically quashing political opposition.

In just five years, Bakiyev's powerful ruling clan has made a dramatic impact on Kyrgyz society and through an established pattern of nepotism - the family exerts effective control over the state at every level.

In the aftermath of the recent poll, state police clamped down on protesters angered by the outcome.

Despite Bakiyev's dismal democratic and human rights record, his re-election is good news for the US since they needed an airbase in the country for the war in nearby Afghanistan.


Kyrgyzstan: The Price of Corruption frst aired in August 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera