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Violence Scuppers Kyrgyz By-Election

(RFE/RL) OSH, Kyrgyzstan; June 26, 2006 -- Police in Kyrgyzstan's southern Osh province today told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service they have opened a criminal investigation into violence that erupted during a by-election on June 25.

Yesterday in the Tuzbel district, scores of supporters of the two candidates competing for a vacant seat in parliament -- Sanjar Kadyraliev and Mamat Orozbaev -- fought in the streets while voting was in progress.

"Supporters [of the two candidates] several times attacked each other with sticks, metal bars and threw stones at each other," said Osh province deputy police chief Uraiym Tashiev. "We have opened a criminal investigation into these incidents in accordance with Article 234 of Kyrgyzstan's Criminal Code."

The clash caused local officials to stop the election. Officials have not yet named a date for the election to be repeated.

[The June 25 voting was itself a repeat of an earlier by-election in which Orozbaev received the most votes.]

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