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28 February 2005 -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said today parliamentary elections held in Kyrgyzstan yesterday fell short of international standards.
The head of the OSCE observer mission for the elections, Kimmo Kiljunen, said the elections were more competitive than previous polls. But the OSCE mission chief said that "sadly this was undermined by vote buying, de-registration of candidates, interference with media, and a worrying low confidence in judicial and electoral institutions on the part of voters and candidates."
Meanwhile, some 450 people gathered in Bishkek, criticizing Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev and what the crowd called Akaev's "opportunists" for closing down an independent newspaper and Radio Azattyk prior to elections.
In the Nooken district of the southern Jalal-Abad province, some 5,000 people demonstrated in support of the leader of the opposition Kairan El party, Dooronbek Sadyrbayev, who appeared to have come in second in yesterday's election.
A second round of elections is scheduled for 13 March to fill more than half the places in the 75-seat parliament, where no candidate won a clear majority in yesterday's election.
Opposition Holds Protest Ahead Of First Election Results
Youth Leader Speaks About Opposition Organization's IntentionsFor news, analysis, and background information on the Kyrgyz elections, see RFE/RL's special website "Kyrgyzstan Votes 2005."