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Kyrgyz PM Jeenbekov Resigns To Run For President

Sooronbai Jeenbekov
Sooronbai Jeenbekov

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov has resigned in order to run for president.

Jeenbekov announced his decision at a cabinet meeting on August 21 after the Central Election Commission registered Jeenbekov as a candidate in the October 15 election.

He later told journalists that instead of suspending his duties or taking a break, which is allowed by law, he decided to step down "to be in an equal position with other presidential candidates."

A former governor of the Osh region in southern Kyrgyzstan, Jeenbekov had been prime minister since April 2016.

He said he does not know who will replace him.

Jeenbekov was nominated for the presidency by the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan and was the third hopeful to be officially registered as a candidate.

The other two are Temir Sariev, leader of the Ak Shumkar (White Falcon) party, and Omurbek Babanov, leader of the Respublika-Ata Jurt (Republic-Homeland) parliamentary faction.

The final list of registered candidates is to be made public on September 10.

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

Controversy has been cast over the election by the August 16 conviction of opposition politician Omurbek Tekebaev on bribery charges his party says were aimed to keep him off the ballot.

Tekebaev was sentenced to eight years in prison in a ruling that bars him from running in the October election and the next presidential vote, due to be held in 2023.

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