Kyrgyzstan: Competitive Presidential Election Heavy on ‘Kompromat’
For the first time in Central Asia’s post-Soviet history, one elected president is set to hand power over to another freely and fairly elected chief executive. That is the plan at least for Kyrgyzstan’s upcoming presidential vote.
Roughly a dozen candidates are standing in the October 15 election, but only two really have any chance — the former prime minister and the pick of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, and multimillionaire businessman and leader of the Ata-Jurt/Respublika opposition coalition, Omurbek Babanov.
The starting pistol for the presidential race was fired one month before election day. A stunning number of billboards, overwhelmingly advertising Jeenbekov and Babanov, quickly appeared around the country. Ideologically, there is little that clearly distinguishes the two leading candidates, and their respective campaigns dwell in generic terms on the prospect of a prosperous future for Kyrgyzstan under their rule.
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Nurjamal Djanibekova is a reporter based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.