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Televised Debates Start In Kyrgyz Presidential Election Campaign

Candidate Marat Imankulov
BISHKEK -- Two former senior security officials are among the Kyrgyz presidential candidates taking part in the first televised debate today ahead of the October 30 elections, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Central Election Commission (BSK) member Jarkyn Bapanova told RFE/RL that Marat Imankulov and Adakhan Madumarov will take part in the debate along with independent candidate Sooronbai Dyikanov.

They are the first of the 19 presidential candidates whose debates will be broadcast live by the Kyrgyz Public Television and Radio Corporation channel.

Adakhan Madumarov
Adakhan Madumarov
Imankulov, who headed and later was deputy chief of the State Committee for National Security (UKMK), stepped down from his post in August in protest what he said was his agency's transformation into a "tool" to protect top officials' interests.

Madumarov is a former Security Council secretary who currently leads the opposition United Kyrgyzstan party.

Officials said last month he is scheduled to be questioned regarding a high-profile murder.

Madumarov was Security Council secretary in 2009 when Medet Sadyrkulov -- who served as head of then President Kurmanbek Bakiev's office -- was found dead shortly after he left Bekiev to join the opposition.

Dyikanov is an independent candidate whose registration application was rejected twice by the BSK.

He was registered as a candidate earlier this month after he managed to show he has the support of the needed minimum of 30,000 voters, verified with valid signatures.

On October 18, three more candidates will take part in the next live debate.

They include one of the most prominent candidates, former Emergencies Minister Kamchybek Tashiev, who heads the Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party in parliament.

Earlier this year, Tashiev was involved in a scuffle in parliament involving fellow deputy Bakhadyr Suleimanov.

Tashiev will debate former ombudsman Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, who is running as an independent, and Almazbek Karimov, also an independent.

Bapanova said the order in which candidates participate in debates was selected at random by the BSK.

Read more in Kyrgyz here