Kyrgyzstan: No Surprises

by Nathan Hamm on 7/10/2005 · 7 comments

RFE/RL reports that, according to exit polls, Kurmanbek Bakiyev has won Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election by a landslide.

Exit polls taken by three Western-funded Kyrgyz pollsters give Bakiev over 80 percent of the vote. The closest of his five opponents, Akbaraly Aitikeev, got about 5 percent.

Granted, I’m not in Kyrgyzstan, but these numbers sound credible because… Who else was running, again? Additionally though, some voters said they voted Bakiyev because he represents stability.

Early reports say that the vote appears clean and the election commission said turnout was over 50% meaning the election is valid.

To check the transparency and fairness of the voting process, over 1,000 observers are monitoring the polls. And some 300 foreign journalists have received accreditation to work in Kyrgyzstan during the election period.

Some of the observers who are monitoring the polls told RFE/RL today that no violations have come to their attention so far. Bermet Abdyshukurova from Kyrgyzstan’s largest civic group, the “Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society,” said the vote was going well.

Alan Cordova has some observations from Chui province polling stations including the following.

Third, it seemed that voters were not well educated on the candidates and their platforms, despite large posters in many areas in towns with all of their statements. People voted for Bakiev just for the sake of voting for him, rather than any specific policies or ideological alignment. I’m going to look into this further in the days ahead.

He has many more interesting things to say. Definitely check out the post.

Robert Mayer also has some reflections on the vote. I entirely concur with his observation that Bakiyev had a large stake in guaranteeing a clean vote.

Larry Tweed in Osh says that all is normal in his neck of the woods.

About all I really have to add is…

That’s one helluva hat.

And, dancing girls at polling stations might be one of Kyrgyzstan’s most unique contributions to democracy.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Tim Newman July 11, 2005 at 2:36 am

Mmmmmm….Kyrgyz dancing girls…….

Zsa Zsa July 13, 2005 at 9:44 pm

I just came over from to see about the elections!… It is not unusual that the voters are not as familiar with the candidates as they should be… Most voters aren’t !

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