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Akaev Will Not Allow Diplomats To Run For Office

President Akaev (file photo) Bishkek, 26 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev's spokesman said today Akaev will not sign a bill allowing former diplomats, now opposition leaders, to run in next month's parliamentary elections.

Spokesman Abdil Segizbaev said the Legislative Assembly, the lower house of parliament, broke procedure when they passed the bill last week.

Segizbaev said some deputies voted for absent deputies to reach the majority needed to pass the bill. The bill would have amended the election code by removing a residence requirement for diplomats who represented Kyrgyzstan abroad.

Four former Kyrgyz ambassadors have had their election registrations rejected because they had not lived in Kyrgyzstan continuously for the five years leading up to the 27 February poll.

British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan James Sharp expressed regret last night that the former Kyrgyz ambassador to Britain, Roza Otunbaeva, was one of those excluded from the participating in parliamentary elections. Sharp called the requirement "one of the toughest in the world."

The speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Abdygany Erkebaev, said deputies should not have voted on the bill last week after not getting enough votes two days earlier.

"At this stage there is no future for this bill because it was adopted with some irregularities. Now the issue of diplomats can be resolved by one institution only, and that is the Constitutional Court."

Erkebaev said that according to a recently passed law, a bill rejected by lawmakers could only be reconsidered six months later at the soonest.

Erkebaev did not say why, as speaker of the lower house, he allowed a second vote. The opposition claims the decision not to allow the former ambassadors to run is politically motivated.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service/AP)

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