News / Asia

Russia’s Favored Candidate Wins Presidential Vote in Kyrgyzstan

Former Prime Minister and Russia�s favored candidate, Almazbek Atambayev (C), who was declared winner of Kyrgyzstan's presidential elections Monday, talks to journalists in the capital Bishkek, October 31, 2011.
Former Prime Minister and Russia�s favored candidate, Almazbek Atambayev (C), who was declared winner of Kyrgyzstan's presidential elections Monday, talks to journalists in the capital Bishkek, October 31, 2011.
James Brooke

After 20 years of independence, voters in Kyrgyzstan have voted heavily for a presidential candidate who promises to tighten links between Moscow and its former Central Asian republic.

Russia’s favored candidate was declared winner of Kyrgyzstan’s presidential elections Monday, marking another step in Russia’s return to Central Asia.

Almazbek Atambayev, a moderate who recently served as prime minister, won 63 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections in the former Soviet republic.

In a crowded field of 16 candidates, Atambayev stood out as the only one to have won an audience in Moscow with Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Earlier this year, Atambayev organized a vote in parliament to rename one of the nation’s tallest mountains Vladimir Putin Peak.

In the campaign, the former Kyrgyz prime minister supported two of Putin’s expansion policies - a free trade pact for most of the former Soviet Union and a Customs Union. Today, as many as one-quarter of Kyrygz men work in two countries that are members of the Customs Union - Russia and Kyrgyzstan’s northern neighbor, Kazakhstan.

Pyotr Chernyak, a former newspaper editor and now a business consultant, spoke Monday from Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital.

Chernyak said that after two decades of poor economic performance and two street revolutions, many Kyrgyz welcome Atambayev’s promises of political stability and closer economic ties with Russia.

Atambayev said Kyrgyzstan would not renew a U.S. lease at an air base outside Bishkek used to ferry troops to Afghanistan. The lease expires in 2014.

Other analysts say many Kyrygz are worried about the American decision to reduce troops in Afghanistan and China’s economic push from the east. Moscow, which ruled Soviet Central Asia until 1991, is seen by some as a familiar guarantor of Kyrgyz sovereignty.

Western poll-watchers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe declared the voting and vote-counting to be flawed, but ultimately fair. They said the fraud did not seem big enough to change the outcome.

According to Kyrgyz election officials, Atambayev overwhelmed his two closest rivals. Both from the nation’s restive south, each received about 14 percent.

One candidate, Kamchibek Tashiyev, a former emergencies minister and a trained boxer, had threatened to bring “millions” of people to the streets if elections were unfair. On Monday, several hundred of his supporters briefly blocked a road near his hometown. They then demonstrated in Osh, the largest city in southern Kyrgyzstan. In the evening, no disturbances were reported.

Interim President Roza Otunbayeva, Central Asia's first woman president, is to step down at the end of her term on December 31. In so doing, she will record another first for post-Soviet Central Asia - the first national leader to voluntarily surrender power to a democratically elected successor.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs