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Kyrgyz Presidential Election To Be Held On July 23

Opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev

Opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev

BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament has officially set the date for the country's presidential election as July 23, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The Kyrgyz Constitutional Court had announced on March 19 that the election should be held before October 25. Later the same day, the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Legislation proposed July 23.

A large majority of deputies in parliament -- which is dominated by the pro-government Ak Jol party -- approved the date.

The leader of the opposition Ata Meken (Fatherland) party, Omurbek Tekebaev, told RFE/RL that his party will have a candidate in the election.

Tekebaev -- who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate -- added that the opposition should unite to support a single candidate to run against incumbent Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Bishkek-based political analyst Orozbek Moldaliev told RFE/RL that Bakiev wants to hold the election before the economic downturn worsens and increases the number of people unhappy with his rule.