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Kyrgyz Communist Party leader resigns after criminal charges

BISHKEK – Daily News with wires | 8/3/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s Communist Party says he is resigning because of a pending criminal case against him, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Kyrgyz Service reported Monday.

The chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s Communist Party says he is resigning because of a pending criminal case against him, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Kyrgyz Service reported Monday.

Iskhak Masaliyev told journalists in Bishkek that the charge of "organizing mass disorder" was preventing him from leaving Bishkek and campaigning for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The charge was made against Masaliyev in May after a recording of an alleged phone conversation he had with Usen Sydykov – the head of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's administration – was made public.

During the conversation, it appears Masaliyev and Sydykov were discussing how to organize unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan. Two people died in ethnic clashes in the Jalal-Abad region on May 12-13.

Masaliev spent about two weeks in jail before being released and put under house arrest. He said the charge against him was "absolutely groundless."

Masaliyev told RFE/RL that Bumairam Mamaseitova will take over as leader of the Communist Party.

Masaliyev, 50, is the son of Absamat Masaliyev, the Kyrgyz Communist Party's first secretary and leader of the Soviet republic until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Absamat Masaliyev continued to lead the party until his death in July 2004, when his son took over.

Kyrgyzstan has a second Communist Party that is headed by Klara Ajybekova.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 10.

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