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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Kyrgyzstan election date decided
Kyrgyz lawmakers watch a recorded address to the nation of president Askar Akayev during a parliament session in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, April 7, 2005.
Mr Akayev tendered his resignation in a recorded address last week
Kyrgyzstan's parliament has voted to hold presidential elections on 10 July, after accepting the resignation of ousted President Askar Akayev.

One key figure likely to run is Felix Kulov, who has just had corruption charges against him overturned.

Mr Akayev fled the country last month after the opposition seized power.

He resigned from his post as president last week, but officially remained in power until the parliament voted to accept his resignation.

On Monday they obliged, voting 38-2 to "suspend Askar Akayev's presidential powers in connection with his offer of resignation".

Legislators initially rejected the long-standing leader's offer to step down, saying it was too dignified a way for him to leave the political stage.

Acting President Kurmanbek Bakiev has already said he will be running to replace Mr Akayev as leader of the poverty-stricken Central Asian nation.

Another leader of the opposition to Mr Akayev, former security chief Felix Kulov, also looks set to stand.

Mr Kulov spent more than four years in jail on charges he claims were politically motivated, but was freed from prison on 24 March, the day Mr Akayev was forced from power.

Last week the court overturned a ruling finding Mr Kulov guilty of abuse of power, and on Monday his conviction for embezzlement was also quashed, legally clearing his way to stand for the presidency.

Kyrgyz opposition leader Felix Kulov addresses supporters in front of the presidential palace in Bishkek, 24 March 2005.
Felix Kulov could be in the running for president in July's poll

But there is still one other remaining hurdle, according to BBC Central Asian correspondent Ian MacWilliam.

By law the president must speak Kyrgyz fluently. But Mr Kulov, like many people from northern Kyrgyzstan, speaks better Russian than Kyrgyz.

Meanwhile the interim foreign minister of Kyrgyzstan, Rosa Otunbayeva, is due to have talks in Moscow on Monday with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

The talks agenda is due to include possible assistance for Kyrgyz interim leaders, including material and technical aid.

The Interfax news agency quoted Ms Otunbayeva as saying that she did not plan to meet Mr Akayev, who has been living in Moscow since he was ousted from power.


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