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BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has appointed his son as the head of the central agency for development, investment, and innovations, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Maksim Bakiev, the president's youngest son, previously ran a business abroad. But he is also known to have exerted substantial influence in the country's politics since his father became president in 2005.

Ulugbek Ormonov, a member of the pro-presidential Ak-Jol (Bright Path) party, told RFE/RL that Maksim Bakiev has proven himself as a successful businessman whose foreign experience will be useful for Kyrgyztsan's investment policies.

But Topchubek Turgunaliev, a member of the United Popular Movement -- an umbrella group of several Kyrgyz opposition blocs and parties -- has criticized the appointment.

Turgunaliev told RFE/RL that the president is following the common Central Asian trend of keeping power concentrated in the country's first family.

Kurmanbek Bakiev's eldest son works for the National Security Service.
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