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Soldiers vote early in Kyrgyz poll

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Soldiers vote early in Kyrgyz poll


Kyrgyz soldiers have been voting early ahead of a referendum that could see the country become the first parliamentary democracy in the region.

The interim government, which took over after a popular revolt in April, says Sunday’s vote will devolve power from the president and restore stability to this strategically important country.

But the run up has been marred by the violent inter-ethnic clashes around the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan which claimed hundreds of lives and sent 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks fleeing across the border.

The UN says most have now returned but it is unclear whether they will vote.

Despite government assurances to the contrary, many say they do not believe Kyrgyz soldiers will protect them from harm if they go to polling stations

One man who will not be voting is Sandjar Bakiyev. The nephew of the deposed president has been arrested and charged with helping organise the clashes.

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