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Kyrgyzstan Registers 18 Preliminary Presidential Candidates

President Kurmanbek Bakiev

President Kurmanbek Bakiev

BISHKEK -- Eighteen people have been preliminary registered as presidential candidates with Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The deadline for preliminary registration was May 18.

Election commission chairwoman Jamila Alymbekova told RFE/RL that three of the candidates represent political parties and the others are running as independents.

The Central Election Commission will announce on June 2 which of the 18 have met all of the requirements to make the presidential election ballot.

The candidates must also submit 50,000 valid signatures in support of their candidacy.

The election is scheduled for July 23.

Incumbent President Kurmanbek Bakiev is considered the leading contender.