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Kyrgyz President Inaugurated After Disputed Election

A Kyrgyz family watches a live broadcast of the inauguration of President Kurmanbek Bakiev.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has been inaugurated for his second term after winning an election that the opposition dismissed as fixed.

In his inaugural speech, Bakiev said that he managed to ensure peace and stability in Kyrgyzstan over the course of his first term.

He named fighting corruption and reducing poverty as among the key priorities for his government.

Opposition activists accuse the government of rigging last month's vote, which Bakiev won with 76 percent of the ballots.

The main opposition candidate, Almazbek Atambayev, has refused to recognize Bakiev as president. Election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported ballot box stuffing and multiple voting, among other irregularities, and said the election fell short of democratic standards.

On August 2, Bakiev called for national unity and described his reelection as a win for everybody. "Most importantly, the very principle of democracy and the ideals of tolerant society were victorious,” he said.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Kyrgyz parliamentary deputies, diplomats, and the president of neighboring Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev, who praised Bakiev’s reelection.

“The Kyrgyz people made their choice in this election,” Nazarbaev said. “The people entrusted the reins of the government to the hands of Kurmanbek Bakiev. This is a huge vote of confidence, full of responsibility.”

But Omurbek Tekebaev, the leader of the opposition Ata-Meken party, told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, Radio Azattyk, that the July 23 vote was nothing but a farce.

“These elections were held illegally,” Tekebaev said. “It's written in our constitution that presidential elections should be held the last week of October this year. So, these elections are not legitimate.”

“Secondly, the whole voting process and the pre-election process were accompanied by violations of the constitution. That's why all these events look like a farce,” Tekebaev said.

The run-up to the inauguration has been marked by sporadic opposition rallies protesting the outcome of the vote. But no demonstrations were reported on inauguration day.

RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports that 10 opposition supporters who were arrested on election day while monitoring the voting process remain in jail.

Ainura Asankojoeva and Venera Djumataeva from RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service contributed to this report.