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Preliminary Kyrgyz Election Results Expected Today

28 February 2005 -- First preliminary results are expected today from Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary elections.

The Central Election Commission said 57 percent of eligible voters took party in yesterday's elections.

The OSCE and the CIS sent observers to monitor yesterday's vote. They both will release their findings later today.

However, President Askar Akaev said yesterday that independent monitors and government officials agreed voting went smoothly.

"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.

Opposition leaders, however, said irregularities took place.

Voting did not take place in the Tong district of the Issyk-Kul region because electoral officials said they couldn't deliver ballots due to protests there over the barring of an opposition leader. Voting will take place there in two weeks.

In an interview with RFE/RL before the vote, opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva predicted any attempts by Kyrgyz authorities to rig the election could spark protests.

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