Accessibility links

Polls Close in Kyrgyzstan Election

People in Kyrgyzstan voted to choose a new parliament election Sunday.

Twelve parties competed in the election, but opposition leaders have criticized the vote, saying their representatives were beaten during the campaign, and that their leaders have been kept off the ballot.

Election officials reported a 61 percent turnout of eligible voters. Preliminary results from the vote are expected on Monday.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's Ak-Zhol party is expected to win most of the 90 seats in the legislature. Mr. Bakiyev told reporters that he is certain that the new parliament would be better than the last.

Social-Democratic Party head and former Kyrgyz prime minister Almaz Atambayev called the election "dirty" and has promised protests in the streets if election fraud occurred.

International observers monitored the election, in which 2.7 million people were eligible to vote.

In an October referendum, voters approved sweeping changes to the constitution, including a change in the election system that puts party lists before voters, rather than individual candidates. U.S. and European monitors said that referendum was marred by violations such as ballot stuffing.

Kyrgyzstan has experienced political turmoil since 2005, when a popular revolt toppled President Askar Akayev and brought Mr. Bakiyev to power.

The Central Asian nation is home to both U.S. and Russian military bases.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.