25 Jul 2009

EU disappointed over presidential election

9:01 am on 25 July 2009

European election observers have described a presidential election in Kyrgyzstan in central Asia on Thursday as a disappointment that fell short of key standards.

They also reported an unfair advantage for the incumbent, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, through an abuse of power.

With 73% of ballots counted, the central election commission said President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had won 85.4% of the vote. Opposition candidate Almazbek Atambayev had 7.5%.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the vote was marred by ballot box stuffing, inaccuracies in voter lists and multiple voting.

The United States uses the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan as a transit point for its troops fighting in Afghanistan.

The Ferghana valley in southern Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of a series of gunbattles over past months between state troops and attackers identified by the government as rebels.