Thousands protest over Kyrgyzstan election result

Thousands protest over Kyrgyzstan election result
Emptying ballot box after the voteImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Opposition leaders have refused to recognise the result of the election

Thousands of people have protested in Kyrgyzstan over allegations of vote-buying and intimidation in Sunday's parliamentary election.

The capital Bishkek saw the largest protest while rallies were also held elsewhere in the ex-Soviet republic.

Only four parties out of 16 passed the 7% threshold for entry into parliament, three of which have close ties to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

International monitors have said the claims of vote buying are "credible".

None of the established opposition parties got a seat in parliament. Now all of these parties have declared that they will not recognise the results of the election.

Opposition candidates are calling on the Central Electoral Commission in Kyrgyzstan to cancel the results of the vote.

One candidate, Ryskeldi Mombekov, told a crowd of more than 5,000 protesters: "The president promised to oversee honest elections. He didn't keep his word."

Mr Mombekov's party, Ata Meken, had been confident of entering parliament, but in the end it was one of the eight parties that missed the threshold.

Protesters are also calling on President Jeenbekov to resign.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Two parties with close ties to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov each took 25% of the vote

Thomas Boserup, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's election observation mission, said in a briefing that although the vote had been "generally well organised", allegations of vote buying were a "serious concern".

The two leading parties, which got a quarter of the vote each, were Birimdik and Mekenim Kyrgyzstan.

President Jeenbekov's younger brother, Asylbek Jeenbekov, is in Birimdik.

Mekenim Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, is seen as being closely connected to the powerful Matraimov family. The family's figurehead, Rayimbek Matraimov, is believed to have helped finance Mr Jeenbekov's successful presidential campaign in 2017.

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