Almazbek Atambayev has been declared the winner of Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election with 63 percent of the vote at Sunday’s polls.
Atambayev recently served as the prime minister of the former Soviet republic and was Russia’s favored candidate among the field of 16 presidential hopefuls, Voice of America reports.
International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the election was generally fair, although they observed “significant irregularities on election day, especially during the counting and tabulation of votes,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Two of Atambayev’s opponents in the race – former parliament speaker Adakhan Madumarov and head of the Ata-Jurt opposition group Kamchybek Tashiyev, who each received less than 15 percent of the vote – have refused to accepted the results, alleging massive fraud, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek:
A disputed vote in Kyrgyzstan, the only country in the world that hosts Russian and U.S. military bases, threatens to reignite tensions following violence last year that’s marred its political landscape and threatened investment. A peaceful handover of presidential power from incumbent Roza Otunbayeva, who steps down in December, would mark the first such democratic transition in Central Asia.
“There may be protests from the losers, but [Atambayev’s] margin of victory was so overwhelming that it's not likely to make any difference," Asiya Sasykbayeva, deputy speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament, told the Christian Science Monitor. “He's not a nationalist who will split the country between north and south, he's not a radical who will seek to upset our international relationships, and he already has plenty of experience in managing the state as prime minister.”
Pyotr Chernyak, a former newspaper editor and now a business consultant, told VOA that after two decades of poor economic performance and two street revolutions, many Kyrgyz welcome Atambayev’s promises of political stability and closer economic ties with Russia.
President Barack Obama sent a message of congratulations to the people of Kyrgyzstan on Monday. "In casting their ballots, the Kyrgyz people have taken an important and courageous step on the path of democracy and demonstrated their commitment to an orderly and open transition of power,” Obama said in his statement.