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Opposition Leader Has Election Application Rejected

7 January 2005 -- Electoral authorities in Kyrgyzstan have rejected former Foreign Minister and current opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva's registration to be a candidate in February's parliamentary elections.

The registration forms for Otunbayeva, who is a co-chair of the opposition Ata-Jurt movement, were initially accepted yesterday, and photographs showed a district elections official next to Otunbayeva after she received her certificate.

Later, however, district election officials in Bishkek withdrew Otunbayeva's registration, saying there had not been a quorum when the election commission voted to approve her candidacy.

Opposition members say the rejection appears politically motivated. Opposition lawmakers and independent journalists say there had been enough commission members present to approve her registration, with 11 out of 15 members attending the meeting.

Otunbayeva served as Kyrgyzstan's ambassador to Britain and was foreign minister from 1994-1997.

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