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Kyrgyzstan: Election Could Produce Worrisome Result - Experts

Supporters of the Ar-Namys party wave flags and watch entertainers at a rally in Bishkek on Oct. 5. (Photo: Dean C.K. Cox)

It has been a relatively calm parliamentary election campaign so far in Kyrgyzstan. But international experts are worried that it won’t stay quiet following the October 10 vote.

Kyrgyzstan has already experienced more than a fair share of turmoil this year, first with the collapse of Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration in April, then the interethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June. Some experts had feared that the parliamentary campaign could catalyze a new bout of instability. Yet the campaign has so far been relatively quiet.

The election has an ambitious aim: to transform Kyrgyzstan from a presidential into a parliamentary republic. It is the first attempt by a Central Asian state, a region with an authoritarian-minded leadership tradition, to undergo such a political makeover. Despite a better-than-expected electoral environment, international experts are not especially confident that the experiment will succeed, and they appear to be bracing for trouble ahead.

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David Trilling is the Central Asia news editor for EurasiaNet.

Kyrgyzstan: Election Could Produce Worrisome Result - Experts

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