Kyrgyz voters casting ballots in parliamentary polls
People in Kyrgyzstan have started voting in parliamentary elections, in which pro-Russia parties are expected to retain their dominance for another five years in the Central Asian country.
According to the election commission, polling stations opened at 08:00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) on Sunday, as over 2,000 candidates representing 14 parties battle for seats in the 120-member legislature.
Approximately 800 election monitors from 57 countries and 47 organizations are observing Sunday’s polls, in which Kyrgyzstan is using biometric data to prevent voter fraud for the first time.
The Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), led by Chynybai Tursunbekov – a supporter of President Almazbek Atambayev – is likely to do well in the polls, but it can only take a maximum of 65 seats based on the constitution.
Other pro-Russia parities such as Ata-Meken, Bir Bol and Respublika and Ata-Jurt are also tipped for strong showings in the elections of the mainly Muslim nation of six million.
Atambayev recently called on voters “to choose stability,” the SDPK’s buzzword, adding, “Our nation has a great future, provided of course that it is not cheated.”