07/12/2005, 00.00
Kyrgyzstan
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Bakiev's election opens new prospects

Fighting corruption and phasing out US bases are among the objectives of the new government.

Bishkek (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Kurmanbek Bakiev's election to the Kyrgyz presidency opens new prospects for the country. Bakiev, who was acting-Prime Minister going into Sunday's election, was elected by a landslide with 88.63 per cent of the vote.

Back in March, the 55-year-old Bakiev led the 'tulip' revolution that ended the dictatorial regime of then President Askar Akaiev.

At a press conference after polls closed, he said he was satisfied with the way the vote was conducted, in an honest and transparent manner and in accordance with the terms set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE).

A statement by the OSCE said Sunday's election was conducted in a regular and legal manner with about 73 per cent of registered voters casting their ballots.

The new president has appointed Felix Kulov to the post of Prime Minister with full charge of the economy.

Corruption, which was one of the reasons for former President Akaiev's downfall, will be among the objectives of the Bakiev-Kulov government. So will be energy and the issue of US bases.

In fact, for the newly-elected president, the Americans must start planning a gradual pullout and in so saying he was echoing comments by the Central Asian grouping known as the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO), which said the US should set a date for the withdrawal of its bases.

SCO is also involved in energy issues, namely the oil and gas pipelines which will link Siberia to East Asia through Central Asia.

The role played by George Soros's Open Society Institute in the 'tulip' revolution suggests a growing role played by capital flows in shaping Central Asia's political transformations.

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet Republic on the border with China. Its population is largely Turkic and Muslim.

Three of its five million people live on less than a dollar day. And this constitutes a fertile ground for Islamic fundamentalism, especially in light of the country's geographic position, smack right in the middle of Asia and not far from Afghanistan.

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