Claims Of Kyrgyz Voter Intimidation Investigated Ahead Of Presidential Vote

BISHKEK — Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission (BShK) has launched a probe after an NGO reported that residents in one district said they were threatened with violence if they didn’t vote for Sadyr Japarov in the upcoming early presidential poll.

The BShK said it was acting on a report by the group Jalpy Ish (Common Case) over recent alleged voter intimidation in the Kara-Suu district in the southern Osh region.

The report said young men went house to house telling people to vote for Japarov on January 10, threatening them with violence if they didn’t.

The BShK also said that it had informed the Central Asian state’s Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor-General’s Office about the incident.

There’s been no comment from Japarov on the allegations.

The early presidential election was called following a political crisis triggered by mass protests in early October over the outcome of parliamentary elections that led to the resignation of the government and prompted President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to step down.

Japarov, who during the October turmoil was released from prison where he was serving a sentence for kidnapping a political rival, was elected prime minister by lawmakers and took over presidential powers following Jeenbekov’s resignation.

In mid-November, Japarov suspended his duties as acting president and prime minister to become eligible to seek the presidency as Kyrgyz law does not allow anyone serving as president in an interim capacity to run in an election for the post.

Seventeen candidates have been registered to run in the January 10 vote.

This post was originally published on Radio Free.