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Bakiev Upbeat About Kyrgyz Democratic Process


http://gdb.rferl.org/2128C0C3-F735-4AEA-A1E7-49328BA65110_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/2128C0C3-F735-4AEA-A1E7-49328BA65110_mw800_mh600.jpg Bakiev speaking at a press conference today in Bishkek Bishkek, 11 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's newly elected President Kurmanbek Bakiev today expressed satisfaction about his victory in yesterday's elections.

He noted that international observers recognized the vote as generally free and fair.

At his first news conference since the polls, Bakiev said in Bishkek that the successful election demonstrates the aspirations of the Kyrgyz people to follow democratic procedures.

"The people demonstrated high civic activity and made their choice. And it is understandable. Kyrgyzstan's people are tired of poverty and unemployment, instability, and uncertainty that some [forces] try to benefit from," Bakiev said.

Bakiev said that the president's powers should be reduced. He also said he will soon present Feliks Kulov's nomination for the premiership to parliament for endorsement.

Bakiev also questioned the continued presence of U.S. troops at a military base they have used since late 2001.

He said the necessity of the U.S. base at Manas international airport near Bishkek should be discussed now that the situation in Afghanistan has stabilized.

International Congratulations

The United States today congratulated Kyrgyzstan's people and Bakiev for what it called a "calm and peaceful" vote.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey noted that the election process was praised by international observers -- including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the private International Republican Institute.

"The preliminary report of OSCE observers that was out there [in Kyrgyzstan], including people from the International Republican Institute, noted that the election showed tangible progress toward meeting OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections," Casey said. "Again, this represents a marked improvement over the previous round of elections for the parliamentary vote in February and March. And we're very encouraged that so many of the citizens of Kyrgyzstan exercised their right to vote and did so in a calm and peaceful way."

Germany today also praised the Kyrgyz election. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the "smooth course" of the vote could help foster democracy across Central Asia.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement today that the Kyrgyz election was held in a "credible manner."

The Kyrgyz Central Election Commission said today that with 95 percent of the votes counted, Bakiev defeated five challengers and received 88.9 percent of the ballots.

(With agencies)

Related:

RFE/RL Special: Kyrgyz Presidential Election
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