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Kyrgyz Deputies Call For Early Presidential Vote

President Askar Akaev has faced calls to resign since the 27 February elections Prague, 10 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Twenty deputies from Kyrgyzstan's Legislative Assembly, the lower house of parliament, met today, criticizing the recent parliamentary elections and calling for early presidential elections.

The 20 opposition deputies released a statement that said authorities had violated the law, used their power to exclude opposition candidates from participating in elections, pressured voters and interfered with the media.

Opposition member Alvetina Pronenko read the statement outside the parliament building in Bishkek: "We believe that the president who has publicly spoken in favor of fair elections but at the same time has helped disrupt the elections and failed public confidence in the election process and its outcome, who has deceived his people, should no longer be the leader of the country."

The group called on President Askar Akaev to hold presidential elections this July, instead of the poll currently scheduled for October.

They also called for the current parliament to remain until November.

The deputies were forced to meet outside as officially the parliament building is closed for repairs. Police were keeping people from entering the building.

The deputies said this act amounted to a coup d'etat as it effectively shut down one of the country's branches of power.

They called on President Akaev to enforce the constitution or else hand over power to the speaker of parliament.

(Tynchtykbek Tchoroev of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service contributed to this report)

For news, background, and analysis on Kyrgyzstan's 27 February parliamentary elections and the demonstrations leading up to the 13 March runoff, see RFE/RL's webpage "Kyrgyzstan Votes 2005".