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Kyrgyz Acting Deputy PM Resigns In Election Run-Up

Bishkek, 20 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's acting first deputy prime minister, Feliks Kulov, suspended his duties today until the completion of presidential elections scheduled for 10 July.

Kulov made the announcement at a press conference in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek. He said he is stepping down to help acting President Kurmanbek Bakiev carry out his election campaign.

"The law says that a government official has no right to carry on an election campaign while in office, so I am suspending my duties. Bakiev has also made such a statement. We have discussed this and made this decision together in order to make our goals clear to the people and to show unity between the north and the south," Kulov said.

Kulov and Bakiev have agreed on a tandem -- if Bakiev wins the presidential race, Kulov will be his prime minister. Kulov dropped out of the presidential race as part of the deal.

Yesterday, Bakiev signed a decree temporarily suspending his powers as the country's prime minister. It goes into effect today. The decree stays in effect until the end of presidential vote.

Bakiev is running against six other presidential candidates in the 10 July vote.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service/Kyrgyz Radio/Interfax)