Kyrgyzstan: Nail-Biter Vote Generates Bitterness to the Very End
Rivals in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election traded accusations of wrongdoing even as polling was underway on October 15, while authorities warned ominously of possible post-vote violence.
Among the dozen or so candidates in the running, only two are viewed as having any chance of winning the presidency. One is Sooronbai Jeenbekov, 58, the nominee of the ruling Social Democratic Party, who has been a substantial leg-up by positive coverage in state media. But Jeenbekov has been massively outspent by a fellow former prime minister, the 47-year old multimillionaire Omurbek Babanov.
Babanov was the first among the higher-profile candidates to visit the polling station and he struck a largely positive and optimistic tone after voting.
“I have voted for change, so that people could live better and would start returning to their motherland. I am fully confident, because I met with people [during campaigning] and saw the results of public surveys,” he said.
Jeenbekov was characteristically lacking in animation in his remarks to journalists, speaking so quietly that some in the huddle were unable to hear him.
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