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Last updated: April 11, 2005 7:09 pm

Kyrgyz MPs set July election date

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The parliament of Kyrgyzstan has approved the resignation of former President Askar Akayev and set July 10 as the date for a general election to appoint a new leader of the central Asian republic.

Mr Akayev, who fled Kyrgyzstan during a sudden revolution last month, tendered his resignation from Moscow on April 3. But technically he remained in office alongside acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev until parliament's vote of acceptance.

Parliament's decision puts an end to talk of possible indictment of the former leader who is blamed for allowing Kyrgyzstan to sink into poverty during 15 years of corrupt rule.

Changes to the Kyrgyz constitution introduced by Mr Akayev in 2003 make indictment all but impossible. But some calling to account is likely.

Mr Akayev's family, allegedly the main beneficiaries of his corrupt regime, has already been stripped of immunity from prosecution. Decisions on confiscating property of the former president and his clan will be taken in the coming weeks.

Mr Bakiyev, a former prime minister, has already pledged to stand for election as permanent leader. His main opponent is likely to be Felix Kulov, a former security services chief imprisoned during the last years of the Akayev regime on charges of embezzlement and abuse of power.

The Supreme Court on Monday completed the rehabilitation of Mr Kulov, withdrawing all guilty charges against him. He is free to join the presidential race, but will decide his political future after consultations with Mr Bakiyev.

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