Oct. 15 – Josh Friedman reports from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on a rather unusual competitive election day in Central Asia. Who is in the race and what kind of action can we expect?
As Kyrgyz voters head to the polls, there are two candidates out of 11 who are considered frontrunners. One, former prime minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov, is the pick of sitting President Almazbek Atambayev. The other, former prime minister Omurbek Babanov, is backed by Kazakhstan. One side is alleging that Kazakhstan is meddling in the election, while the other is alleging that the Kyrgyz government is using state resources to propel the president’s pick into office.
Nonetheless, the election is possibly the most competitive presidential race in Central Asian history. It could also lead to the first peaceful transfer of power following free elections in the region.
Kyrgyzstan’s first two elected presidents were both ousted in violent revolutions. Will the third transfer of power proceed peacefully? Watch and stay tuned.