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Kyrgyzstan: 83 Candidates Register for Presidential Elections

The small Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, famous for its political unrest, will hold a presidential election in October, 2011. Now Kyrgyzstan has another chance to be famous: 83 Kyrgyz citizens are registered to participate in the race for the vacant presidential post.

The list of candidates is impressive: there are lawyers, farmers, businessmen, teachers, Ph.Ds., politicians and even a few unemployed people. Sixteen candidates are representative of the political parties, sixty-seven nominated themselves, and there are six women and seventy-seven men. All of them must collect 30,000 supporting signatures, provide an election deposit (around $2,200) and pass the Kyrgyz language exam.

The president of Kyrgyzstan is elected for six years. The same person cannot be elected twice. Only a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic without any foreign citizenship, not younger than 35 years and not older than 70 years, resident of Kyrgyzstan not less than 15 years can be elected as a president.

Kyrgyz parliament. Image by Flickr user benpaarmann (CC BY 2.0).

Kyrgyz parliament. Image by Flickr user benpaarmann (CC BY 2.0).

83 presidential candidates

Of course, virtual Kyrgyzstan has widely discussed such a great variety of presidential candidates [all tweets translated from Russian]:

@AizatM: Eighty-three candidates!!! It is just funny!!! Anyway, I want to hope for better…

@Chingiz_KG: Eighty-three presidential candidates is a shocking number

@IlyaLukash: So what, country? My congratulations for eighty-three candidates!

The users of Diesel forum expressed more practical thoughts. They were curious how ballots would look like [ru]:

$kyMeR: Will the ballots look like a roll? ))

llena: The bulletins should be made as a toilet paper roll. It makes sense

Ilyich: Germany is famous for its cars, Japan is famous for its engineering, China is well-known for goods, and Kyrgyzstan is famous for the production of Presidents!

The 83 candidates made Kyrgyzstani netizens think about quality of the candidates, too. A number of the Kyrgyz politicians have already registered their accounts on social networks; a few of them have their own blogs.

Netizens’ reactions

Virtual Kyrgyzstan knows that almost all of the Kyrgyz politicians become active on social networks only before a large political events (rallies, elections and etc.). At other time their activity is near zero; this led to the creation of an event on Facebook “Down “dead” politicians!” [ru].

The event was created by Azamat Imanaliev, an editor of one of the biggest news agencies AKIpress, and an active user of social networks. The event calls all users of social networks in Kyrgyzstan to unfriend and to unfollow the Kyrgyz politicians from the friend list on September 25, 2011, a day when the agitation campaign starts:

@Azzzik: I wonder if we can make a flash mob to remove the accounts of the politicians from our friend list. They remember us only during election time. RT!

@Azzzik: Let’s remove them together in defined day. Imagine their bewilderment – they will lose such a large audience in one day. They will lose courage ))

The action got the ambiguous responses. While many users welcomed this idea, the others asked if it made sense at all.

Aliya Akmatova wrote [ru] on the wall of the Facebook event:

People, why are you so furious? This is nonsense. The campaigns activate in social networks before holidays, for example – it gives them traffic and sales. People are active when they need it, or have a profit, or when they want to capture attention. It is absolutely normal. This is worldwide experience

Peri Adanova said [ru]:

Why should we remove them if we had added them? They don’t bother anybody. I think that not only politicians use social networks for PR.

Diesel forum user DRIVE2.KG posted [ru]:

I don’t see any sense in the removal of the politicians. Why did I add them then? They don’t bother me. I know what is going on in their life when they write some, even if they don’t write themselves. Some of them are writing themselves, you can see it. Action doesn’t have any sense.

The number of the candidates is however, decreasing significantly. Many of them cannot pay the election deposit; a few failed the Kyrgyz-language exam and didn’t collect enough supporting signatures.

Registration of candidates will finish on September 25, 2011, and the election campaign will last from September 25 until October 29. Presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan will be on October 30, 2011.

We will see the reaction of the Kyrgyz politicians (if any) on September 25. But many users remain skeptical. As the main representative of the Russian newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Igor Shestakov said [ru]:

This is a prototype of our future e-government. You can even send a question or express an opinion, but the officials will never answer you.

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