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    Russian observer praises Kyrgyzstan for calm vote

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    The parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan are being held in a relaxed atmosphere, the Russian head of a CIS observer mission said.

    The parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan are being held in a relaxed atmosphere, the Russian head of a CIS observer mission said on Sunday afternoon.

    "There is no information that there have been any excesses that may affect the course of voting," said Andrei Molchanov, the head a team of international observers from the Interparliamentary Assembly of Commonwealth of Independent States.

    Molchanov, a senior member of the Russian parliament's upper house, said both the electoral campaign and Sunday's vote were "absolutely in line with international standards."

    "Everything is very well organized, clear and accessible," he told RIA Novosti by telephone.

    It is hoped the elections will continue Kyrgyzstan's progress toward long-term stability after six months of political unrest and ethnic violence that saw former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev flee the country in April.

    The opposition has already criticized the vote, however, saying it has recorded violations of electoral law at several polling stations.

    The country's prosecutor general vowed on Sunday afternoon that all reports of violations would be investigated, adding that two criminal cases had been opened into ballot stuffing.

    "There was an attempt to stuff five ballots in the first case, three ballots in the second case," Kubatek Baibolov said.

    The elections are part of the move to remake Kyrgyzstan as parliamentary republic that was endorsed by voters in a June referendum. More than a third of voters had cast ballots by the early afternoon and Molchanov said he expected turnout to pass the required 50 percent by the end of voting.

    The 2,289 polling stations in the country close at 20:00 local time (14:00 GMT). There are also 44 polling stations serving Kyrgyz living outside the republic, mainly in diplomatic missions but also in 15 cities across Russia, which plays host to many guest workers from Kyrgyzstan.

    MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti)

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