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Aspiring Kyrgyz Candidate Vows To Fight Ban

18 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A leading Kyrgyz opposition leader is vowing to continue efforts to overturn a ruling prohibiting her from running in the country's upcoming parliamentary elections.

Roza Otunbaeva, co-leader of the Kyrgyz opposition movement Ata Jurt (Fatherland), had appealed to the Supreme Court after an earlier rejection of her candidacy to run in the 27 February elections by a Bishkek district court.

She told RFE/RL after the court upheld the ban today that she will continue to fight her exclusion and will appeal to the Kyrgyz Constitutional Court.

"I would say one thing: It is sad that these 13 years [since the collapse of the Soviet Union] have been a waste of time for the judges [Kyrgyz judicial system]," Otunbaeva said. "[President Askar] Akaev has been boasting about reforms that have been carried out. However, nothing has changed for the judiciary system. But we will make an effort to change this system."

Also today, Kyrgyzstan's parliament rejected an amendment to election legislation that currently bars Otunbaeva and three other former ambassadors -- whose postings kept them outside the country -- from running for seats in parliament.

Kyrgyzstan's election law states that citizens who have not lived in the country for five years before an election cannot register as candidates.

Electoral officials said none of the four had been living inside Kyrgyzstan for long enough prior to the February voting to qualify them as candidates.

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