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Printing Of Ballots For Kyrgyz Parliamentary Vote Starts Under Strict Security

Election posters in Bishkek
BISHKEK -- The printing of ballot papers for Kyrgyzstan's October 10 parliamentary elections is proceeding amid tight security, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The Bishkek-based Uchkun publishing house began printing the ballot papers earlier this week.

Central Election Commission (BSK) member Nurlan Sheripov told RFE/RL that the printing was being monitored by representatives of the National Security Service, police, and the BSK in order to prevent the illegal printing of extra ballots.

Sheripov said ballot papers would be distributed to polling stations 10 days before the election. More than 2.8 million ballots will be printed.

The total number of registered voters is 2,726,000, but thousands of families that fled the country during the interethnic violence in the southern Osh and Jalal-Abad oblasts in June have still not returned to Kyrgyzstan.

The Prosecutor-General's Office has also launched an investigation into the parliamentary and presidential elections held in Kyrgyzstan in 2007 and 2009.

Investigators say the elections held under former President Kurmanbek Bakiev -- criticized by international organizations as not meeting international standards -- may have been manipulated and rigged.

Bakiev was ousted in April after clashes between anti-government demonstrators and police.