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Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Withdraws From Presidential Race

Omurbek Tekebaev

Omurbek Tekebaev

BISHKEK -- The leader of Kyrgyz opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, Omurbek Tekebaev, announced today that he will not take part in next month's presidential election, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Tekebaev said at his party's offices in Bishkek today that his decision to withdraw from the election is due to a desire "to gather around me those who really contributed to democratic reforms in the country."

Tekebaev, 53, was considered one of the leading presidential candidates-to-be in the October 30 election. He successfully passed the mandatory Kyrgyz-language test, had gathered at least 30,000 voters signatures, and paid the registration fee of some $2,100.

Tekebaev, who ran for president in 1995 and 2000, served as parliament speaker from 2005-2006.

The Kyrgyz Central Election Commission is expected to announce the final list of presidential candidates on September 24, one day before the presidential campaign officially starts.

Read more in Kyrgyz here