Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 12:22 UK

Kyrgyz president to seek new term

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Bakiyev faces deepening social discontent in the poor nation

The ruling party in Kyrgyzstan has nominated President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to stand for re-election.

Mr Bakiyev will face his former prime minister, Almazbek Atambayev, at the polls in July.

Tensions are growing between the ruling Ak Zhol party and the main opposition, ahead of the elections.

Opposition parties have accused the authorities of clamping down on critics, and they claim the government will try to rig the July ballot.

The Ak Zhol party won every parliamentary seat in the 2007 general elections, which foreign monitors said failed to meet international standards.

'Worsening repression'

President Bakiyev was elected to a four-year term in 2005, after allegations of a rigged ballot led to mass protests that drove then-President Askar Akayev from power.

The constitution was later amended to increase the maximum presidential term by a year, leading to ambiguity over whether the election should be held in 2009 or 2010.

But the constitutional court decided last month that the polls should be scheduled for 23 July.

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