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Kyrgyzstan: Losing Presidential Candidate Ditches Party Leadership

The main losing candidate in the recent presidential election in Kyrgyzstan has relinquished leadership of his political party in the wake of a criminal investigation being opened against him.

Omurbek Babanov said in a statement on November that he will no longer head the Respublika/Ata-Jurt group, which constitutes the largest force in parliament opposing the government.

As Babanov is currently outside the country — presumed to be in Russia — the resignation was announced by his associate, Talant Mamytov. The explanation for the decision was not explicitly linked to the criminal investigation, however, but explained by Babanov as a desire to see Respublika/Ata-Jurt pursue more intensive legislative efforts in parliament.

Babanov was the only viable rival to the ultimate winner of the October 15 presidential election, ruling party candidate Soronbai Jeenbekov. In the end, however, Babanov’s well-funded and high-visibility campaign failed to force a runoff vote, as Jeenebekov managed to garner almost 55 percent of the vote, well over the 50 percent threshold needed. Babanov got around 34 percent of the ballots cast.

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Kyrgyzstan: Losing Presidential Candidate Ditches Party Leadership

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