Kyrgyzstan: Smears Soil Election Campaign
Kyrgyzstan’s competitive presidential election campaign is taking a dirty turn, as strategists are relying heavily on smear tactics to sway undecided voters. One of the two front-runners, the multimillionaire former prime minister Omurbek Babanov, has been on the receiving end of much of the negative campaigning.
In the most sensational development to date, Kanatbek Isayev, an MP said to be backing Babanov’s presidential bid, was arrested on September 30 and is facing accusations that he plotted to foment riots. Prosecutors contend Isayev allegedly reached out to criminal groups, seeking assistance to provoke violent unrest under the guise of protesting the outcome of the October 15 election, in the event that his favored candidate did not prevail.
Babanov, speaking at an October 1 news conference, was outspoken in defending Isayev. “We have to clear up this situation. Law enforcement officials need to investigate this matter dispassionately,” Babanov said. “Kanat Isayev is a principled person who has a clear understanding of the law.”
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