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20 May 2004 -- Several of Kyrgyzstan's leading opposition parties have formed a new movement, For Honest Elections, led by the country's Security Council secretary.

The Union for Honest Elections groups leaders from several opposition parties including the Ar-Namys and Social-Democrat parties.

The new movement's representatives elected Security Council Secretary Misir Ashyrkulov to be chairman. Ashyrkulov said the group hoped to prevent the repetition of mistakes made in previous elections.

"Yes, there were shortcomings in some places [during the 2000 elections]. It was mentioned by both the international community and international organizations. We are organizing such a movement in order to avoid the mentioned shortcomings and to organize open and fair elections," he said.

The group said it will oversee compliance with election laws in the days leading up to parliamentary and presidential elections, which will be held in February and October 2005, respectively.

Ashyrkulov, a long-time friend of incumbent President Askar Akaev, said the group does not seek a revolutionary transition of power.

(RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service/AP/KyrgyzInfo)
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