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Kyrgyzstan's Second-Largest City Gets New Mayor

Taalaibek Sarybashev (file photo)
Taalaibek Sarybashev (file photo)

OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Osh has a new mayor after 44 of 45 members of the city council voted in favor of Taalaibek Sarybashev.

Sarybashev, currently the Osh region governor, was the only candidate nominated to the mayoral post by the majority coalition in the city council on July 18.

His predecessor, Aitmamat Kadyrbaev, left the post on July 3 after the government appointed him deputy chairman of the State Committee for Industry, Energy, and Mineral Resources.

Kadyrbaev took over "Kyrgyzstan's southern capital" in January 2014 after he won in a very tense competition with rival Melis Myrzakmatov.

Myrzakmatov, a longtime mayor of Osh, had been the only prominent official with ties to former President Kurmanbek Bakiev who managed to hold onto his post after Bakiev's ouster and deadly interethnic clashes in Osh and nearby areas in 2010.

Myrzakmatov was eventually fired in December 2013, although his supporters staged several rallies to prevent his ouster.

After losing his post, Myrzakmatov apparently fled as the authorities were investigating allegations that he had ordered illegal infrastructure projects.

He was sentenced in absentia in July 2015 to seven years in prison after being found guilty of abuse of power and corruption.

Myrzakmatov's current whereabouts is unknown.

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