Kyrgyzstan has begun voting procedures in its first ever election since the implementation of a new constitution.
The former-Soviet state has arguably had a difficult time maintaining a president, with the first, Askar Akayev, having been overthrown in 2005 in what is commonly referred to the ‘Tulip Revolution’, and the second, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, having been forced to flee when protestors stormed the Presidential palace. The interim president, Roza Otunbayeva, then handed over power to Almazbek Atambayev. During Otunbayeva’s brief administration, she drew up a new constitution that would limit a president to a single term in office.
The front-runner for the election is the current prime minister, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, whose popularity is boosted by the fact that he is also backed by the outgoing president, Almazbek Atambayev, a man who served as the president of the nation for the past six years. Jeenbekov and his main rival, Omurbek Babanov, both used to be Prime Ministers under the outgoing president.
However, this historic vote is overshadowed with reports of meddling and interference from Kazakhstan, though Astana has rejected any such claims.
If no nominee receives over 50% of the vote, a run-off will be held. This is unlikely to occur as the favourite to win, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, has already received 900,000 votes in the first round, (or 54% of the voting populace).
Featured Image Credits: Reuters