Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 147

Kyrgyzstan’s Central Electoral Commission has in the last few days registered five challengers to incumbent president Askar Akayev in the presidential election scheduled for December 24. Among them are: Absamat Masaliyev, former First Secretary of the republic’s Communist Party; Medetkan Sherimkulov, former ideological secretary of that party and former chairman of the republic’s Supreme Soviet; and Jumgalbek Amanbayev, the party’s last top leader of the Soviet era, reelected first secretary when the party was revived in 1993, and currently deputy prime minister responsible for agriculture.

The country’s authorities have been criticized for obstructing the signature-collecting campaigns of presidential aspirants, most of whom are communist or regional. A minimum of 50,000 signatures are required for a candidate to be registered. Until November 30, Akayev was the sole candidate in the race.

Akayev met yesterday in Uzbekistan with that country’s president Islam Karimov. Officially intended to discuss Uzbek fuel deliveries to Kyrgyzstan, the meeting also served as an indirect endorsement of Akayev to help him collect the votes of Kyrgyzstan’s important Uzbek minority. In addition to the communist challenge, Akayev faces as would any Kyrgyz leader a potential problem of Uzbek separatism in southern Kyrgyzstan. Akayev has thus far seemed to have things well in hand on both issues. (21)

1. Reuter, December 5

2. Reuter, "Moscow’s Echo" Radio, December 5

3. UPI, December 5

4. Reuter, Itar-Tass, December 5

5. Reuter, December 5

6. Interfax, December 4

7. AP, AFP, December 4

8. Interfax, Itar-Tass, Ostankino and Russian TV, NTV, December 2-4

9. Interfax, December 4

10. Financial Times, December 5

11. Interfax, December 4

12. BNS and Interfax, December 1-4

13. BNS, December 1 to 4

14. Petroleum Information Agency, December 1

15. Interfax, November 23 and 29, December 1 and 4

16. Interfax, November 23 and December 1

17. Flux, December 4

18. Basapress, December 2 and 4

19. AP, DPA, Interfax-Ukraine, Itar-Tass, December 4

20. AFP, December 3

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