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OSCE Gives 'Thumbs Up' To Kyrgyzstan's Election Preparations

A campaign van makes its way through Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan, on October 7.
A campaign van makes its way through Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan, on October 7.
PRAGUE/BISHKEK -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) mission in Bishkek has positively assessed Kyrgyzstan's preparations for this weekend's parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's reports.

Jens Hagen Eschenbacher, a spokesman for the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, told RFE/RL via phone from Bishkek that the election campaign, which began on September 10, has proceeded without serious problems.

"The campaign has been competitive, has been very lively, highly visible with political parties holding rallies across the country," Eschenbacher said. "There are 29 political parties contesting, they have been able to campaign freely and largely without major incidents."

Akylbek Sariev, the chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Central Election and Referenda Commission, told journalists that the 29 political parties are offering thousands of candidates who are vying for 120 seats in parliament.

Participating political parties' candidate lists must include at least 30 percent women, while 15 percent must be ethnic minorities.

The October 10 elections will be the first to establish a partial parliamentary system in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary elections in 2007 and presidential election in 2009 were deemed to be neither free nor fair by international organizations.