Central Asia votes

Sunday is the big day for elections in Central Asia where voters will be going to the polls in both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.  Nathan at The Argus is posting daily news roundups – here’s the latest – and he’ll doubtless be analysing the outcome, too.

It seems like there’s plenty of the usual post-Soviet electoral chicanery taking place already, although there are hopeful signs that the opposition is growing in strength.  I’d be surprised, however, if they are strong enough yet to organise protests on the scale of those in Georgia and Ukraine. 

Update: Transition Trends notes that Western media interest in the Kyrgyz election is increasing.

I spoke with a number of journalists gearing up to go to Kyrgyzstan this week. A lot more than I would have ever expected. Colleagues report the same. After Ukraine went Orange and with all the buzz about spreading democracy these days, convincing your editor to shell out for a flight to Bishkek is not the hard sell it used to be.

This is great news, because it will now be much harder for the Kyrgyz regime to violently suppress protests.  The extra security the media attention provides will probably draw extra protestors onto the streets too.

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