- Associated Press - Sunday, October 24, 2010

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Hundreds of people rallied Sunday in this Central Asian capital to support a top Kyrgyz politician a day after he said he was wounded in an attack linked to contested election results.

Supporters of Kamchibek Tashiyev, the leader of a nationalist party, demanded the resignation of Kyrgyzstan’s security chief, Keneshbek Dushenbayev, whom Mr. Tashiyev blamed for the attack Saturday at his home in a suburb of Bishkek, the capital.

The crowd, which swelled to about 700 in Bishkek’s central square, also demanded the release of official results for the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections.

Preliminary results gave a surprise first place to Mr. Tashiyev’s Ata-Zhurt party amid claims of widespread fraud from two rival parties, but government officials have not officially confirmed the election results yet.

The Oct. 10 election, where voters chose a new and empowered parliament that can approve a government and appoint a prime minister, came after an exhausting year of political turbulence and deadly ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan.

In April, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted after mass protests over stagnant living standards and corruption. Many top officials from his government then formed Mr. Tashiyev’s Ata-Zhurt party, which denies any affiliation with the ousted president, who is now living in exile.

In June, mobs of ethnic Kyrgyz attacked minority Uzbeks in the south, leaving more than 400 people dead, mostly Uzbeks, and forcing 400,000 others to flee.

Kyrgyz have mostly supported the ousted government, and Uzbeks the interim government that replaced Mr. Bakiyev’s rule.

Kyrgyzstan hosts the Manas U.S. air base, a vital supply stop for the Afghan war effort, as well as a Russian air base. Mr. Tashiyev has spoken out against the U.S. base while government officials have agreed to let it stay for now with increased rent.

Mr. Tashiyev claimed Saturday that he was attacked in an assault orchestrated by Mr. Dushenbayev, head of the National Security Service, and that the goal was to undermine the election results.

Kyrgyzstan’s Security Service declined to comment on the claim. The prosecutor’s office said Mr. Tashiyev may have been hurt in a “scuffle provoked by his bodyguards.”

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