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Ex-Kyrgyz Diplomats Protest Election Exclusion

8 December 2004 -- A group of former Kyrgyz diplomats are protesting against a decision to exclude them from running in Kyrgyzstan's upcoming parliamentary elections.

Earlier this week, Kyrgyzstan's Election Commission barred diplomats who have not been living in Kyrgyzstan for the previous five years from running in the elections.

Some diplomats who fit that description were on Kyrgyz diplomatic duty abroad.

Among those are a former ambassador to Turkey (also a former parliament speaker), an ex-ambassador to Malaysia, and a former envoy to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Muratbek Imanaliev, a former Kyrgyz foreign minister who also once served as ambassador to China, today described the situation to RFE/RL as a "political game."

"It's aim is to obstacle to three or four people to be lawmakers," Imanaliev said.

Kyrgystan's parliamentary elections have been scheduled for February 2005.