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Detained Kyrgyz Opposition Party Leader Tekebaev Named As Presidential Candidate


Kyrgyz opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev (file photo)

Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party has named its detained leader, Omurbek Tekebaev, as the party’s candidate for the November presidential election.

The decision was made at an extraordinary Ata-Meken congress held in the capital, Bishkek, on March 5.

Tekebaev, a former parliament speaker and one of the main opponents of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev, is currently being held at the State National Security Committee’s detention center on allegations of bribe-taking and fraud.

Supporters of Tekebaev believe the criminal investigation against him is aimed at preventing him from running for president.

Atambaev has defended Tekebaev's arrest, saying that it was not politically motivated.

Delegates at the Ata-Meken party congress decided to hold rallies across the country and call for Tekebaev's release.

Kyrgyzstan is expected to hold its presidential election on November 19.

Atambaev’s term will end on December 1.

So far, Tekebaev and three other politicians, including two former prime ministers, have been named as candidates.

With reporting by Ulan Eshmatov from RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service
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