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Controversial Osh Mayor's Fate Hinges On Election

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

The controversial mayor of Osh faces an uncertain future on March 4 as residents vote for a new city council.

Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov, whose critics accuse him of doing little to prevent the deadly ethnic clashes in Osh two years ago, will have to resign if his National Unity party fails to win a majority of the council's 45 seats.

The contest, the first since the Osh violence, includes a total of eight parties fielding 706 candidates. The party which wins the most seats automatically fills the mayor's spot.

The government in Bishkek, which has long sought to remove Myrzakmatov, is mounting the strongest challenge.

Both President Almazbek Atambaev's Social Democrats and Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov's Respublika have been campaigning for months in the city to fight the mayor's well-entrenched political machine.

That machine was on display on March 1 when up to 15,000 of Myrzakmatov's supporters rallied.

Former Osh regional police chief Abdylda Kaparov told the crowd that the city stands firmly behind its mayor.

To read the full story

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Controversial Osh Mayor's Fate Hinges On Election

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