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Kyrgyz President Says Election A Success

For news, background, and analysis on Kyrgyzstan's 27 February parliamentary elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Kyrgyzstan Votes 2005" --> /specials/kyrgyzelections/ .

Bishkek, 27 February 2005-- As voting drew to a close in Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary elections, President Askar Akaev said independent observers and government officials agree that the process was well organized.

Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission says about 57 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.

"We just met with observers from the CIS and OSCE missions and they expressed their satisfaction that the elections have a high-degree of organization," Akaev said.

The election is being closely watched as an indication of whether Kyrgyzstan is pursuing a commitment to democracy. The commission said there had been at that point no reports of major irregularities. But opposition leaders have said there were election violations.

A leading opposition Kyrgyz opposition figure, Roza Otunbaeva, predicted that any attempts by Kyrgyz authorities to rig today's vote could spark protests. In an interview with RFE/RL, she also accused Kyrgyz authorities of shutting down opposition websites and trying to block the distribution of its newspapers.

Kyrgyzstan Claims U.S. Interference

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry sent a note of protest last evening to the U.S. Embassy accusing the U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan of interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs.

U.S. Ambassador Steven Young's told a Kyrgyz newspaper earlier this month that any failure by Kyrgyz authorities to ensure parliamentary elections were free and fair would have a negative impact on the Central Asian nation's relations with the U.S. and the international community.

Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry said the U.S. Embassy should show quote "greater restraint in its commentary."

The ministry said such comments could not only have a negative effect on Kyrgyzstan's elections but could also produce unpredictable reactions inside Kyrgyzstan.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service/AKIpress/ITAR-TASS)

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