Moscow-backed PM wins tarnished election


Kyrgyzstan's Moscow-backed Prime Minister claimed victory yesterday in a presidential election tainted by charges of voting abuses and protests by defeated challengers from the restive south of the former Soviet republic.

With more than 99 per cent of ballots counted, the pro-business Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev had 63 per cent of the vote, an outright majority that avoids the need for a second-round run-off against a potentially strong rival from the south.

Mr Atambayev's win reinforces reforms designed to make Kyrgyzstan Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy after 20 years of authoritarian rule that triggered a bloody revolution in April last year.

A trouble-free election would signal the first peaceful transfer of power in the country. But international observers reported cases of ballot box stuffing and vote buying, while a group of candidates vowed to challenge the result even before polls had closed on Sunday. Reuters