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Kyrgyz Prime Minister To Run For President

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev has announced his plan to run for the presidency in the election scheduled for October 30, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Atambaev made the announcement before a congress in Bishkek on August 14 of the ruling Social Democratic Party, of which he is the leader. He said the current political and economic situation in Kyrgyzstan is very complicated and the new head of state will have many challenges and problems to deal with.

"There are forces outside and inside Kyrgyzstan interested in breaking our country into pieces, and therefore I, as president, would do everything to preserve our nation's statehood and sovereignty," Atambaev said.

Atambaev added that his decision to increase teachers' salaries was not a populist move and would be implemented fully. He said much still must be done to curb corruption and criminality in the country.

Atambaev told RFE/RL after the congress that he planned to step down as prime minister for the duration of the election campaign in order to comply with the election law.

"I will step down for one and a half months so that everybody can see that I am not using 'administrative resources' to secure my victory," he said.

Atambaev said he would resume his duties as prime minister only after the election results are made public, and then only until the new president-elect is sworn in.

Seventy people have so far vowed to apply for registeration as presidential candidates, a process that wraps up this week.

The Central Election Commission is scheduled to vet all applications and announce the list of official candidates by September 25.

Read more in Kyrgyz here