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Protesters In Southern Kyrgyz City Want Old Mayor Back

BATKEN -- Some 100 protesters are picketing the mayor's office in Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Batken to demand that former Mayor Seidakmat Ermatov be reinstated, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Batken Oblast Governor Sultanbay Aijigitov announced on August 24 the appointment of Ashym Rayimkulov as the city's new mayor.

Aijigitov told RFE/RL he decided to replace Ermatov because of the latter's involvement in "political games" and shortcomings in the organization of the June 2010 referendum on a new constitution.

Meanwhile, Ermatov told RFE/RL his dismissal was the result of personal tensions between himself and Aijigitov.

Ermatov said he openly told Aijigitov that he would not support any political party, and so Aijigitov decided to get rid of him on the eve of the parliamentary election campaign. Campaigning starts September 10 for elections scheduled for October 10.

Ermatov was appointed Batken mayor during the rule of former President Kurmanbek Bakiev who was ousted in April 2010.