BISHKEK -- The leader of Kyrgyz opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, Omurbek Tekebaev, announced today that he will not take part in next month's presidential election, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Tekebaev said at his party's offices in Bishkek today that his decision to withdraw from the election is due to a desire "to gather around me those who really contributed to democratic reforms in the country."
Tekebaev, 53, was considered one of the leading presidential candidates-to-be in the October 30 election. He successfully passed the mandatory Kyrgyz-language test, had gathered at least 30,000 voters signatures, and paid the registration fee of some $2,100.
Tekebaev, who ran for president in 1995 and 2000, served as parliament speaker from 2005-2006.
The Kyrgyz Central Election Commission is expected to announce the final list of presidential candidates on September 24, one day before the presidential campaign officially starts.
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