http://gdb.rferl.org/CB80056F-DCAD-42DA-B4EC-CC8DAC3AF00C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/CB80056F-DCAD-42DA-B4EC-CC8DAC3AF00C_mw800_mh600.jpg
Bishkek, 10 October 2004 -- Kyrgyzstan held nationwide local elections today, polls that President Askar Akaev said were a perfect rehearsal for general elections scheduled to be held in 2005.
There were reportedly some 11,000 candidates taking part in the elections to choose deputies for more than 6,000 village and town councils across Kyrgyzstan.
Speaking in the capital Bishkek, Akaev said today that the elections will help the country's democratic progress and to prepare for parliamentary and presidential polls set for February.
"The main thing is, I suppose, that these local elections were a perfect rehearsal for them [for voters and political parties in Kyrgyzstan] ahead of the general elections," Akaev said.
More than 2,000 observers from domestic and international nongovernmental organizations monitored the polls. Under the country's new election laws, the results will be recognized as valid regardless of voter turnout.