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Voting takes place in Kyrgyzstan

06-28-2010 09:05 BJT Special Report: Unrest in Kyrgyzstan |

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Kyrgyzstan says it's embarked on the path of "establishing a true people's democracy." This is after the approval of a new constitution in a referendum on Sunday. The people of Kyrgyzstan voted just weeks after deadly conflicts. The interim government hopes the vote will legitimize the power it seized in April.

Interim leader Roza Otunbayeva made the comment at a news conference. She said "the referendum is valid".

Under the new charter, Otunbayeva -- the first woman to lead a Central Asian state -- would be interim president until the end of 2011.

She said, "We consider referendum a success, the new constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic has been approved despite a strong resistance of its opponents. More than half the citizens of the country came to vote in the referendum and by doing this the people put an end to the authoritarian family-run rule of the two previous presidents."

Uzbeks have mostly supported the vote.

Ben-Ali Dursunov, Mayevka resident, said, "All people were waiting for the referendum because it is extremely difficult and hard to live without law. All the borders were closed from all sides. Our state was without leadership."

However, People who fled the recent attacks did face voting hurdles.

Under a government decree on Friday, voters without identification could cast a ballot if at least two election officials could confirm they lived in the area.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe had 25 observers monitoring the vote. Visiting the village of Mayevka outside Bishkek, Jamez Lenarcic of the OSCE expressed satisfaction that voting had been smooth so far.

He said, "There were disturbances in this village back in April and from this perspective it was also an interesting point to visit, just to see how things are proceeding. And I am very glad to see that everything today at this polling station is calm."

The vote which is supported by the UN, the US and Russia,is seen as an important step on the road to democracy for the interim government, after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted following deadly street protests.

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