Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's party won every available seat in the next parliament, preliminary results showed yesterday, following a weekend election condemned as rigged by the opposition.
The tiny ex-Soviet state, home to both US and Russian military bases, has been volatile since Bakiyev came to power in 2005 when a string of violent protests triggered by a disputed election toppled his long-serving predecessor, Askar Akayev.
If confirmed by final results, Bakiyev's Ak Zhol party would dominate the 90-seat chamber in an effective one-party rule -- a break from Kyrgyzstan's past as the most liberal state among the more authoritarian Central Asian countries.
"It'll most likely be a one-party system," said Toktogul Kakchekeyev, an independent political analyst.
Ak Zhol won 48 percent of Sunday's vote, the Central Election Commission said yesterday, citing results after 80 percent had been counted.
The opposition Ata Meken party was the only other party to pass the nationwide threshold of 5 percent needed to make it into the chamber, with 9.3 percent. But it failed to meet a separate requirement of taking 0.5 percent of the vote in each of Kyrgyzstan's seven regions and two main cities.
Bakiyev has been accused at home of backtracking on his pre-election promises to bring more democracy and stability. He says stronger rule will help rebuild the economy, still in tatters after the Soviet collapse and burdened by huge debt.
His party says it sees Russia -- where President Vladimir Putin's party controls more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament -- as a guiding model. Neighboring Kazakhstan also has a one-party parliament.
"The desire to copy Russia and Kazakhstan is priority No. 1 for the authorities," Kakchekeyev said.
The opposition said it had registered cases of forced voting and ballot stuffing and has threatened to take action if it was blocked from joining the assembly.
"We don't accept this election's result," Kubatbek Baibolov of the Ata Meken party said.
"The authorities ... are just cynically appointing their own people to parliament. It will lead to trouble. People feel deceived," Baibolov said. "There has been flagrant fraud as well as recourse to administrative resources [because the country's bureaucrats were backing the president's party]."
"The authorities do not want us in the parliament, they fear us," said Leila Akilova, a spokeswoman for the Social-Democratic party (PSDK) of former prime minister Almaz Atambayev.
The previous parliamentary election in 2005, also disputed by the opposition, sparked protests that toppled Akayev and brought Bakiyev to power.
But, despite the accusations of irregularities, many voters said they voted for Ak Zhol, seeing it as a guarantor for stability following years of political turbulence and street protests.
Later yesterday, monitors from the Western-led Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said in a statement that Sunday's elections "failed to meet a number of OSCE commitments."
The mission qualified its criticism, saying that there had been respect for some OSCE standards "that underscore existing political pluralism."
The final official election result is due later this week.
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