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Rally Held 'For Fair Elections' In Bishkek Ahead Of October Presidential Vote


Hundreds of people came out on the streets of the Kyrgyz capital to demand fair elections ahead of a presidential vote next month.

BISHKEK -- Around one thousand people gathered at a rally in the Kyrgyz capital organized by activists protesting against election-campaign abuses, including bribery and the use of "administrative resources" -- whereby political candidates and parties use their official connections to influence and pressure voters, especially those employed by the state.

Kyrgyzstan is currently in the midst of an election campaign ahead of a presidential vote on October 15.

Around 500 protesters initially gathered on Bishkek’s central square to attend the “For Fair Elections” rally before being joined by hundreds more as they made their way to the city's Botanical Garden.

"We have gathered with one single mission: we demand fair and clean elections. We are against bribery and administrative resources," independent parliamentary deputy Zhanar Akaev told protesters.

Two members of the Central Election commission also attended the rally, informing people that their vote in the upcoming election was confidential.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the ruling Social Democratic Party's nominee who stepped down as prime minister in August to run for president,.and Omurbek Babanov, a businessman who is also a former prime minister, are seen as the main contenders for the presidency of the Central Asian nation of about 6 million.

The run-up to the election, however has been beset by reports of officials using their influence to pressure civil servants and students into voting for a certain candidate.

Outgoing President Almazbek Atambaev, who has been the president since December 2011, is constitutionally barred from running for a second term.

Two previous presidents were driven from office by popular protests in the former Soviet republic in 2005 and 2010.

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