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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bakiyev Wins a Landslide Victory

APNewly elected Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev speaking to reporters in Bishkek on Monday. He said the U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan should be reconsidered.
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who became Kyrgyzstan's interim leader after its president fled an uprising three months ago, has won an overwhelming victory in presidential elections, the elections chief said Monday.

Foreign observers said the vote brought Kyrgyzstan closer to international standards of democracy.

Bakiyev said his landslide win "could without exaggeration be called a confident victory of our people's revolution." He promised to fight endemic corruption, reduce the power of the presidency by shifting some functions to the prime minister and to have constructive relations with opposition politicians.

Those statements were likely to please Western countries concerned about stability and democracy in Central Asia, but Bakiyev also struck a worrying note for Washington, saying that the presence of a U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan should be reconsidered.

The comments echoed a recent call by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an alliance led by Russia and China that includes Kyrgyzstan, which said the United States should set a date for the withdrawal of its bases in his country and in neighboring Uzbekistan.

Both bases support U.S.-led coalition forces' activities in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan has had presidential and parliamentary elections. The situation there has stabilized. So now we may begin discussing the necessity of U.S. military forces' presence," Bakiyev said Monday. "When and how it will happen, time will show."

With ballots counted from nearly all districts, Bakiyev received 89 percent of the vote, giving him an insurmountable lead over five challengers, said Central Election Commission chief Tuigunaali Abdraimov.

Bakiyev's nearest rival in Sunday's vote tallied less than 4 percent.

A foreign observer team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Parliament said that the vote showed "tangible progress" in meeting international standards on free and fair elections. "Fundamental civil and political rights, such as the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly, were generally respected, and the improved media environment provided the field of candidates with opportunities to present their views," the monitors said in a statement.

Bakiyev has been acting president since March 25, the day after demonstrators stormed former President Askar Akayev's offices and sent him fleeing into exile. Activists were angered over Akayev's alleged manipulation of parliamentary elections.

Abdraimov said Monday that the election "was much better than the previous ones, and more transparent and open," but he noted that observers for some candidates and election monitoring organizations had been prevented from carrying out their duties at some polling stations.