July 10, 2005

Bakiyev elected new Kyrgyz president by landslide

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's acting leader Kurmanbek
Bakiyev has been elected president in the Central Asian state's
first presidential poll since a March revolution, the central
election commission said on Monday.

"Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev has won the first place with
88.9 percent of all the ballots cast," central election
commission head Tuigunaaly Abdraimov told a news briefing,
summing up the results of Sunday's presidential election.

The West had repeatedly urged the ex-Soviet state of 5
million to hold free and fair polls to add legitimacy to its
new leadership and set a good example of democracy for
authoritarian regional neighbors.

The elections were called to find a successor to Askar
Akayev, who ruled Kyrgyzstan for nearly 15 years but fled to
Russia on March 24 after violent protests sparked by flawed
parliamentary elections.

Bakiyev, 55, was a prime minister under Akayev but later
joined the opposition and played a key role in the protests.

Kyrgyzstan, which borders China, has been volatile since
the March revolution, and Bakiyev's cabinet acknowledged last
month it was not in full control after a crowd seized and
briefly held the government headquarters.

The United States and Russia have military air bases in
Kyrgyzstan and have both emphasized a need for stability.

The central election commission said Bakiyev's stunning
vote result was based on 95 percent of all the ballots counted.
It said turnout in Sunday's polls was 74.6 percent.

International election monitors were expected to deliver
their verdict on the conduct of the polls later on Monday.