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Kyrgyz Party Nominates Ex-PM Babanov As Presidential Candidate

Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's second-largest party in parliament has nominated former Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov as its candidate in a presidential election due this fall.

The decision was made unanimously at a meeting of the Respublika -- Ata-Jurt (Republic -- Homeland) party in Bishkek on February 14.

Babanov, 47, was the Central Asian country's prime minister in 2011-12.

His party holds 28 of the 120 parliament seats and is not part of the ruling coalition comprising President Almazbek Atambaev's Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Kyrgyzstan party, and the Bir Bol (Be United) party.

Although the official status of Babanov's party is opposition, its leadership has not voiced much criticism of the ruling coalition.

Two other prominent figures -- former Prime Minister Temir Sariev, who leads the Ak-Shumkar (White Falcon) party, and Onuguu-Progress party leader Bakyt Torobaev -- have also announced plans to run for president.

Kyrgyzstan's limit of a single presidential term bars Atambaev from running in the election, whose date is to be set in the next few months.