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Smallish Southern Protests Seek Annulment Of Kyrgyz Presidential Vote

A supporter of third-place presidential candidate Kamchibek Tashiev shouted in a central square in the southern city of Osh on October 31 in an effort to gather support for claims of unfairness in the vote.
JALAL-ABAD/OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Protesters have gathered in two major southern Kyrgyz cities in support of calls for a new vote by two presidential runners-up in the weekend presidential election, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The turnout at the demonstrations appeared to suggest there was not widespread anger over the result of the October 30 vote, which was the first since bloody protests a year and a half ago chased President Kurmanbek Bakiev from power and into Belarusian exile.

Hundreds of people gathered in the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalal-Abad's central square to demand an annulment of the results and a repeat ballot.

According to preliminary figures from Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission, former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev won the contest with 63 percent of vote, well above what he needs to avoid a second-round runoff.

Opposition United Kyrgyzstan party leader Adakhan Madumarov placed second with 14.75 percent, and Ata-Jurt party leader Kamchybek Tashiev finished third with 14.33 percent.

Jalal-Abad Oblast Deputy Governor Jumagul Egemberdieva said the election was held fairly and that Atambaev's staff did not resort to "administrative resources." She said Tashiev polled 42 percent of the vote in Jalal-Abad Oblast, compared with 24-25 percent for both Madumarov and Atambaev.

A similar protest action was under way in the southern town of Osh. Some 600 protesters are demanding a repeat election, as many voters in the region were not properly registered at local election commissions and their names were omitted from voter lists.

Atambaev is now poised to succeed Roza Otunbaeva, the country's interim leader, who did not run for reelection.

Read more in Kyrgyz here and here