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Kyrgyz Opposition Fails to Win Parliamentary Seats

Final election results in Kyrgyzstan show political parties that support President Kurmanbek Bakiyev have received the majority of seats in the recent voting for parliament.

The Central Election Commission announced Thursday that President Bakiyev's Ak Zhol party won 71 of 90 seats in Sunday's poll. Two smaller parties, the Social-Democratic party and the Communists, won the rest.

The opposition Ata Meken party received more than eight percent of the vote nationwide but did not win any seats because it failed to get the minimum of one-half percent of the votes in the southern polling region - a stronghold of President Bakiyev.

The Associated Press quotes Mr. Bakiyev as describing the election as the cleanest in recent time and a step towards democratic reform.

But European election observers say the poll failed to meet international standards and opposition groups have charged fraud.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said the U.S. is "seriously concerned" about the way the election was conducted. He said opposition parties faced serious obstacles, and government resources were used to benefit specific interests.

Meanwhile, police broke up a demonstration by about 15 opposition supporters who gathered in front of the election commission carrying signs saying, "I don't believe."

In October, a popular referendum approved sweeping changes to Kyrgyzstan's constitution, including a change in the election system that put party lists rather than individual candidates before voters.