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Detained Kyrgyz Opposition Party Leader Tekebaev Named As Presidential Candidate

The leader of opposition Ata-Meken party Omurbek Tekebaev (file photo)
The leader of opposition Ata-Meken party Omurbek Tekebaev (file photo)

Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party has named its detained leader Omurbek Tekebaev as the party’s candidate for the November presidential election in the country.

The decision was made at an extraordinary Ata-Meken congress held in the capital Bishkek on March 5.

Tekebaev, a former parliament speaker and one of the main opponents of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev, is currently being held at the State National Security Committee’s detention center on allegations of bribe-taking and fraud.

Supporters of Tekebaev believe the criminal investigation against him is aimed at preventing him from running for president.

Atambaev has defended Tekebaev's arrest, saying that it was not politically motivated.

Delegates at the Ata-Meken party congress decided to hold rallies across the country and call for Tekebaev's release.

Kyrgyzstan is expected to hold its presidential election on November 19.

President Atambaev’s term will end on December 1.

So far,Tekebaev and three other politicians, including two former prime ministers, have been named as candidates.

With reporting by Ulan Eshmatov from RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service