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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 04:51 GMT 05:51 UK
Landslide win for Kyrgyz leader
Kurmanbek Bakiev
Bakiev, a former opposition leader, has led his country since March
Kyrgyzstan's acting president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, has won a landslide victory in a presidential election.

With almost all the votes counted, Mr Bakiev has 89% support, giving him an insurmountable lead, the election commission said.

He was appointed acting president by opposition groups following the downfall of former leader Askar Akayev, who fled into exile four months ago.

Election officials say the turnout was nearly 75%, much higher than expected.

A turnout of 50% was needed for the poll to be valid.

Map of Kyrgyzstan

Full results, as well as a verdict on the fairness of the poll from observers with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, are expected on Monday afternoon.

Mr Bakiev hailed the poll, which he said provided every citizen of the country with the right to choose.

"For the first time in recent years, the elections are actually elections," he said after casting his ballot near his home in the capital, Bishkek.

"Nobody is pressuring anyone, nobody is threatening anyone," he added.

Election pact

Voting was particularly active in the south of the country, Mr Bakiev's native region.

The protest movement which overthrew Mr Akayev began in the south following disputed parliamentary elections and widespread disaffection and the slow pace of economic reform.

Mr Bakiev's success is due to a pact he made with his rival, former Prime Minister Felix Kulov, says the BBC's Ian MacWilliam in Bishkek.

Mr Kulov withdrew his candidacy in return for a promise to be offered the post of prime minister in a new government.

However, the scale of his victory will put to rest any doubts about Mr Bakiev's popular mandate, our correspondent says.

Mr Bakiev, 55, says his main goal is to eradicate corruption.

He was a prime minister under Mr Akayev, but resigned after the armed suppression of an opposition rally which claimed five lives in March 2002.

He later joined the opposition and played a key role in the protests that led to Mr Akayev's resignation.

The election was closely watched by the US and Russia, which both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan, our correspondent says.

Russia and China have been making it increasingly clear they want to limit US presence in Central Asia.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch people casting their ballots




SEE ALSO:
Kyrgyz poll key test for transition
06 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Q&A: Kyrgyzstan votes
08 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Violence dents Kyrgyz poll hopes
22 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Kurmanbek Bakiev
07 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Kyrgyzstan's new leaders
17 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Kyrgyzstan faces post-Akayev future
04 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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