Otunbayeva - Kyrgyzstan's Elections could be 'cancelled'
Upcoming parliamentary elections in troubled Kyrgyzstan could be cancelled, if politicians use the process to escalate tensions in the ex-Soviet state, President Roza Otunbayeva said Tuesday.
Fighting between ethnic majority Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in June that left hundreds dead and tens of thousands homeless has been followed by rising ethnic tensions that many say is being stoked by opportunistic politicians.
"(I am) concerned about the intentions and behavior of individual parties," she said at a political forum in the capital, Bishkek.
"If it is a question of the integrity and unity of the country, we will introduce a state of emergency and the elections can be stopped," she added.
Kyrgyzstan, which borders China, has been wracked by political chaos and ethnic violence since the toppling of Kurmanbek Bakiyev as president in bloody street protests in April.
Otunbayeva, a former ambassador to both the United States and Britain, has struggled to impose order since assuming power, particularly in the country's deeply-divided southern regions where the fighting occurred.
Last month, protestors loyal to Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakhmatov, an outspoken critic of the central government in Bishkek, attacked and beat a government minister sent to calm the crowd, further underscoring tensions.
Myrzakhmatov, who told Russia's Kommersant daily that he did not recognize the remit of the central government and calls himself a "nationalist", has emerged as the most powerful regional political leader ahead of the elections.
The government, which won a July referendum to transform the country into the region's first parliamentary democracy, is set for a nationwide vote on October 10.
If the elections are held successfully, they would be historic for ex-Soviet Central Asia -- a region that has been ruled by Soviet-era strongmen since the collapse of Communism almost two decades ago, Agence France Presse report.