For the first time in the history of Kyrgyzstan, an elected president is due to peacefully hand over power after elections take place on Sunday. But critics say the political environment in Central Asia’s “island of democracy” is deteriorating.
Here’s a look at the issues there – and who’s likely to come out on top.
What’s special about the vote?
Elections in Central Asia are usually easily predictable – the incumbent or the ruling party’s candidate wins the vote with an overwhelming majority. But the vote in Kyrgyzstan offers a real competition and choice.
Nearly 60 people applied to run in the race, 13 of whom were registered to stand. Two later dropped out. The incumbent, President Almazbek Atambayev, must leave office after six years. Under the Kyrgyz constitution, he may only serve one term.
In neighbouring states, laws have often been changed to allow the incumbent to run again but this did …
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