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May 16, 2006 -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev today met with supporters of the late Rysbek Akmatbaev -- a reputed crime figure and aspiring politician who was gunned down outside the capital on May 10.
The supporters, including some of Akmatbaev's relatives, have been protesting in the eastern town of Balykchy to demand that Akmatbaev be posthumously instated to parliament as a symbolic gesture.
Bakiev had initially suggested he would not meet with Akmatbaev's backers. The presidential press service described the meeting as "constructive."
Shortly before Akmatbaev's murder, he had won the most votes in a parliamentary by-election but was prevented from taking up a legislative seat by the Central Election Commission over lingering charges and an investigation targeting him.
Protesters say the slaying was politically motivated. They have called for a fair and prompt investigation into Akmatbaev's death and for Prime Minister Feliks Kulov's resignation.
(compiled from agency reports)