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Kyrgyz Leader Sets Election Dates --> 10 December 2004 -- Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev said yesterday he wants "the strictest, most exacting control" over upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in order to avoid domestic and international doubts about the polls' fairness.

"I would like as president and guarantor of the constitution to underline that I insist on the strictest, most exacting control over the forthcoming elections so that no one in the country and abroad can raise any doubts about their democratic and fair character," Akaev said.

Akaev, in a televised address, announced parliamentary elections will be held on 27 February followed by presidential elections on 30 October 2005. The elections are seen as a major test for the former Soviet republic.

A leader of the opposition Asaba party, Azimbek Beknazarov, told RFE/RL today that the danger exists of what he called "massive fraud" in next year's elections.

Foreign observers criticized Kyrgyzstan's previous elections, saying they fell short of democratic standards.

(AFP/AP/Kyrgyz Service)