>> The people of Kyrgyzstan going to the polls on Sunday. The rugged central Asian country's presidential election is unusual for the region, as it's not predictable. No candidate is expected to win outright, and observers are expecting a close runoff between two pro-Russian candidates. The link to Moscow comes as no surprise.
Kyrgyzstan is already a close ally and hosts a Russian military base. Helping its former Soviet overlord project power across the region, where China and the United States also buy for influence. Constitutionally barred from seeking a second six-year term, current President Almazbek Atambayev has chosen to back an ally.
Throwing his weight behind former Prime Minister and experienced bureaucrat Sooronbay Jeenbekov, whose victory would allow the outgoing leader to remain a powerful figure. Their Social Democratic Party has the biggest faction in Parliament and dominates the coalition cabinet. They face stiff competition from oil tycoon Omurbek Babanov, though, whose Fatherland party has the second biggest Parliamentary faction.
And Babanov is confident he can beat his rival.>>
> He's not overly popular in Parliament, however, previously accusing the government of abusing its powers to ensure Jeenbekov's victory.
After the authorities charged some of his campaign supporters with plotting a coup and planning to bribe voters. Babanov has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the charges against his supporters as dirty election tactics.