Kyrgyzstan election: Sooronbay Jeenbekov wins historic election

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Sooronbay Jeenbekov voting on 15 OctoberImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Sooronbay Jeenbekov was the preferred candidate of the outgoing president

Voters in Kyrgyzstan have elected a new president in a historic election.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov, a former prime minister backed by incumbent Almazbek Atambayev, won outright, confounding predictions of a tight race.

His main rival Omurbek Babanov got just over a third of the vote.

The former Soviet republic, a close ally of Russia, is now on track for its first peaceful power transfer between elected presidents since independence in 1991.

The first two presidents were ousted by riots.

Unlike other Central Asian states, which have been run by authoritarian leaders, Kyrgyzstan is a democracy.

Presidents are restricted to a single six-year term under a constitution that has been in force since 2010.

Election officials said Mr Jeenbekov had secured well over 50% of the vote in Sunday's first round, against about 33% for Mr Babanov, an oil tycoon.

The election has been overshadowed by a row over allegations of interference from neighbouring Kazakhstan.

Current Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev angered the Kazakh authorities by saying Mr Babanov, who made his money there, was their choice for president. He has denied that he was backed by them.

In response Kazakhstan tightened customs checks at the border, leading to long queues.