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Pro-Russian Parties Win Kyrgyzstan Polls


FILE - Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, left, talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sept. 2, 2015.

Electoral officials in Kyrgyzstan say President Almazbek Atambayev's pro-Russian Social Democratic Party won Sunday's parliamentary polls, with other loosely aligned parties poised to form a new coalition government.

With virtually all votes counted, officials said the Social Democrats were winning nearly 27 percent of the vote, with the nationalist opposition (Respublika-Ata-Jurt) party winning 20 percent.

In all, six parties mainly supporting closer ties with Moscow secured enough votes to win seats in the 120-member legislature.

Atambayev has forged close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Moscow maintaining an air base in Kyrgyzstan and forgiving loans to the government in Bishkek.

The United States last year closed a U.S. air base in the country that had served as a launching ground for NATO operations in Afghanistan since 2001.

After polls closed Sunday, President Atambayev praised the country's democratic elections, saying, "I remember previous years, when conducting genuinely honest elections was just a dream."

Mr. Atambayev was elected as Kyrgyzstan's head of state in 2011 after political volatility led to the ouster of two presidents in popular uprisings in 2005 and 2010.