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Kulov Drops Plans To Run For Kyrgyz President

Feliks Kulov (file photo) Bishkek, 13 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Former Kyrgyz Vice President Feliks Kulov has dropped plans to run for president in the 10 July election in a deal that would allow him to become prime minister.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service in Bishkek, Kulov spokesman Ruslan Chynybaev said the Ar-Namys (Dignity) Party leader had decided instead to run on a joint ticket with interim President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Chynybaev said that should Bakiev be elected president, Kulov would then become prime minister with enlarged powers, including that to form the government.

"The prime minister will have more autonomy," he said. "He will form the government and appoint regional governors. Everything has been agreed with the [interim] president."

It is unclear whether the power-sharing agreement has to be endorsed by parliament. Two days ago, Ar-Namys had nominated Kulov as its candidate in the upcoming elections.

Kulov was released from jail during the 24 March upheaval that overthrew President Askar Akaev's regime. He is one of Kyrgyzstan's most popular political leaders and was seen, along with Bakiev, of being one of the leading contenders in the election.

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