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Kyrgyz PM Warned Against Premature Electioneering

Kyrgyzv Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz Central Election Commission (BSK) has warned Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev against illegal electioneering prior to the official start of campaigning for the October 30 presidential election, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

In a statement posted on the BSK website on September 17, the commission branded as illegal electioneering trips by Atambaev to various parts of the country, his meetings with local residents, and his media appearances.

The formal start of the election campaign is September 25. By that date, all 31 presidential hopefuls should have passed the mandatory Kyrgyz language test, paid the requisite registration fee, and provided documentary proof that they enjoy the support of at least 30,000 voters.

Atambaev has already met those conditions.

Atambaev's aide Indira Jolubaeva told RFE/RL that the BSK's warning is "baseless." She said Atambaev is simply performing his prime-ministerial duties.

"All Atambaev's trips and meetings with the Kyrgyz population are being undertaken in accordance with the law, as he has always been holding meetings of this kind as prime minister, there is nothing unusual in it," she said.

Jolubaeva declined to comment on BSK allegations that TV coverage of Atambaev has increased and that photos of him and articles about him now appear more frequently in newspapers and magazines. She said that question should be addressed to Atambaev's press service.

Bishkek-based political observer Askarbek Mambetaliev told RFE/RL that Atambaev's current post will continue to be a problem for him during the pre-election period. "Whatever Atambaev does or does not do now will be used by his opponents to accuse him of 'using his administrative resources,' that is inevitable," Mambetaliev said.

Read more in Kyrgyz here