Kyrgyz government declares elections valid, refuses to declare state of emergency as opposition cements control of the south

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The flag of Kyrgyzstan Source: SKopp

Kyrgyz authorities declared 71 of the 75 seats elected to parliament valid on Tuesday as the opposition cemented control and attempted to maintain order of the country's south, including the cities of Jalal-Abad and Osh, by holding joint patrols with local policeman.

President Askar Akayev, saying protests against him were part of an attempted coup, claimed "criminal elements connected to the drug mafia" were behind the activities, and "the opposition is directed and funded from outside."

However, the president ruled out declaring a state of emergency, saying he was "fully committed to not taking such measures."

Bazambai Solpuyev, a leader of the opposition, claimed that joint public safety patrols has been set up with local police, and this claim was confimed by a spokesman for the Kyrgyz interior ministry.

Anvar Artykov, head of the opposition-backed Osh provisional authority, declared that president Akayev’s authority was no longer being recognized in the region in a statement broadcast on a local television station.

Prominent opposition figure Roza Otunbayeva claimed that "people’s power" provisional authorities controlled five of the eight districts of Jalal-Abad Province, all but one district of Osh Province, four districts in Talas Province, and one in Naryn.

Law-enforcement bodies in the regions have transferred their allegiance to the provisional authorities, although some policemen were not reporting for work. According to reports, relative calm prevailed throughout opposition-controlled regions.

"We are moving towards control over half the country," Otunbayeva said. "The next goal will be [the capital of] Bishkek."

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