Kyrgyz PM set to win tense presidential vote

By REUTERS
October 31, 2011 06:46

 
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BISHKEK - Kyrgyzstan's Moscow-backed prime minister was poised to become president of the strategically important former Soviet republic on Monday, with nearly all votes counted in a poll set to be disputed by rivals alleging electoral shortcomings.

The election is a key test of bold reforms designed to make Kyrgyzstan the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia after two decades of failed authoritarian rule that triggered a bloody revolution in April last year.

A trouble-free election would signal the first peaceful transfer of power in the mainly Muslim country, where both Russia and the United States operate military air bases, but several candidates have already rejected the outcome.

With 95 percent of ballots counted, pro-business Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev had 60 percent of the vote, an outright majority that would avoid the need for a second round run-off against a potentially strong rival from the south.

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