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Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Quits Presidential Race

Former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov is a fierce critic of the president.
BISHKEK -- Former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov has announced that he is withdrawing from Kyrgyzstan's presidential election to improve the chances of another opposition candidate, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

General Isakov said in Bishkek that he decided to withdraw in order to give his support to the main opposition candidate, Almazbek Atambaev.

Isakov's decision reduces the number of potential presidential candidates to 17.

The Central Election Commission is due to announce the final list of candidates who meet all requirements by June 2.

The presidential election is scheduled for July 23.

Isakov has been charged with financial mismanagement and abuse of power while he was defense minister.

He is a leader of the opposition People's Revolutionary Movement and has been a fierce critic of President Kurmanbek Bakiev.