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Seven Cleared For Kyrgyz Presidential Bids

Incumbent Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev
Incumbent Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev
BISHKEK -- The field of Kyrgyz presidential contenders has been winnowed to seven after officials disqualified 11 aspirants who failed to meet technical requirements for their candidacies, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

The chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Committee, Damir Lisovsky, told journalists on June 4 that the 11 either failed the standard Kyrgyz language test or didn't collect enough signatures to support their bids.

The presidential campaign officially starts on June 18 for the July 23 direct election, with incumbent Kurmanbek Bakiev among the contenders.

Almazbek Atambaev, representing major opposition groups and parties, is expected to pose the strongest challenge to Bakiev.