Kyrgyzstan goes to polls amid vote-buying allegations

Polls have opened in Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary election that will test President Sooronbay Jeenbekov’s political capital and his ability to forge new alliances amid vote-buying allegations and the worst economic crisis in two decades.

Jeenbekov’s supporters look likely to win a significant number of seats in the legislature in the Central Asian country, but the current pro-presidential ruling coalition is certain to be upset due to internal splits in the two major political groups and widespread voter discontent.v

The campaign has been marred by allegations of vote-buying, and an August opinion poll ordered by the US-backed International Republican Institute showed that 15 percent of respondents favoured the idea of voting against all parties.

A total of 16 parties are contesting 120 seats in the single-chamber parliament.

If none of them wins more votes than the “Against all” option, a new election would have to be called.

Oorunbai Kalmurzaev, a farmer from the outskirts of Bishkek, said he was angry about mounting allegations of parties trying to buy votes in the run-up to the poll.

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