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IRI Sends Election Observers to Kyrgyz Republic

July 1, 2005

Washington, DC – IRI today announced delegates to its international election observation mission.  Delegates from Thailand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ukraine and the United States will travel to the Kyrgyz Republic to observe the presidential election on July 10.  Following the voting, IRI will issue a statement on the findings of the delegation.

"We are honored to have such a distinguished group of individuals who are willing to serve on our latest election observation mission to the Kyrgyz Republic," said Lorne Craner, president of IRI.  "IRI has conducted numerous election observation missions all over the world. This mission will provide valuable insight into the progress the Kyrgyz Republic is making as a developing democracy."

IRI's delegation will be led by The Honorable Surin Pitsuwan, former foreign minister of Thailand and a member of the country's parliament, and The Honorable Michael Trend, former member of Britain's parliament.  Other delegates are James W. Dyer, managing director, Clark & Weinstock; Kenneth Flottman, senior counsel, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Geoff Greene, state director for the Liberal Party, Queensland, Australia; Charles Greenleaf, former assistant administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; Yuri Hromovsky, head of Rukh Party, Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine; Petro Serediuk, deputy head of Rukh Party, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine; Michael J. Walsh, retired attorney; and The Honorable Curtin Winsor, president and trustee, The William H. Donner Foundation, Inc.

Delegates will travel to Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, on July 4. Once there, delegates will be briefed by representatives of the presidential candidates, the U.S. Embassy and local media.  They will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Kyrgyz election law. Delegates will then be deployed to all seven regions of the country where they will identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the Kyrgyz Republic's election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.  IRI will monitor more than 100 polling locations throughout the country.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission. IRI staff will be led by Judy Van Rest, executive vice president of IRI and Stephen B. Nix, regional director for IRI's Eurasia division.

IRI began operating in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2004.  In advance of the July 10 election, IRI commissioned the country's first nationwide poll on political attitudes and carried out trainings in message development, door-to-door campaigning, public speaking and observer rights.