Kyrgyzstan voted on Sunday in a presidential election with observers predicting no outright winner and a close runoff between two pro-Russian candidates, one of whom is backed by the outgoing leader. The mainly Muslim central Asian nation of 6 million people has a history of violent protest, and the main opposition candidate, oil tycoon Omurbek Babanov, has accused the government of attacking his supporters and campaign staff. President Almazbek Atambayev – likely to remain a powerful figure if his preferred candidate Sooronbai Jeenbekov wins – warned on Sunday he would use any violence as an opportunity to “cleanse” the country.
Kyrgyzstan is a close ally of Moscow and hosts a Russian military base, helping its former Soviet overlord project power across the region where China and the United States also vie for influence.
In contrast to neighbours, mostly run by autocrats, Kyrgyzstan is a boisterous democracy that produces sometimes chaotic changes of leadership.
Full Article: Pro-Russia candidates vie as Kyrgyzstan chooses president.