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Kyrgyzstan Election Polls Open Amid Unrest


Voting is under way in Kyrgyzstan's run-off parliamentary elections amid protests and unrest in parts of the former Soviet republic.

Candidates who did not win outright majorities of votes cast in February's first-round elections are competing in Sunday's run-off. Over one-and-a-half million people are eligible to vote for their parliamentary representatives in these polls, setting the stage for the presidential election in October.

Protests broke out in some parts of the country after the opposition complained of vote-fixing in the first round. However, the capital, Bishkek, has remained calm.

President Askar Akayev, who has ruled Kyrgyzstan since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, has vowed to stand down and not seek re-election. President Akayev has warned that any attempt to mount a Ukraine-style "Orange Revolution" could lead to civil war.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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