More than 80 people have put themselves forward to take part in Kyrgyzstan's upcoming presidential election, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
The Central Election Commission announced on August 16 that 83 individuals expressed their intention to run in the October 30 election by today's deadline.
Only 16 candidates were nominated by political parties by the end of the nomination period, while the rest nominated themselves.
The candidates must now collect at least 30,000 signatures, pay a deposit of 100,000 soms ($2,239), and also pass a live, televised state-language test for their name to go on the ballot. The commission will announce the shortlist of candidates in late September.
Among the most prominent are Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party leader Omurbek Tekebaev, former Emergency Situations Minister Kamchybek Tashiev of the Ata-Jurt (Native Land) party, and former Prosecutor-General Kubatbek Baibolov.
Others include former Supreme Court chief Kurmanbek Osmonov, former Bishkek Mayor Nariman Tuleev, former parliament speaker Marat Sultanov, and former State Security Council Secretary Adakhan Madumarov.
The October election will determine a successor for Roza Otunbaeva, who became president following the ouster of Kurmanbek Bakiev in a popular uprising in April 2010.
Meanwhile, activists with the Progress Foundation movement urged Prime Minister Atambaev today to temporarily step down from his post before the official start of the presidential campaign on September 25.
The activists say Atambaev's current activities can be seen as using administrative resources to promote his candidacy.
Atambaev told RFE/RL on August 14
that he would step down temporarily as prime minister for the duration of the election campaign. The election law requires government officials running for public office to do so.
Since Atambaev's candidacy was proposed by his ruling Social Democratic Party on August 14, he has made several public statements regarding his programs to raise monthly salaries to secondary-school teachers and increase pensions.
Read more in Kyrgyz here and here