Voters in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan were on track to elect as president nationalist politician Sadyr Japarov, who was sprung from jail amid unrest last year and has made past calls for nationalizing some of the most valuable assets in the country, adding to worries among foreign investors in the turbulent, resource-rich country.
The election on Sunday, which also saw voters approve changes to the constitution giving the president greater powers, is the first vote since riots last year that forced former president Sooronbai Jeenbekov to resign, capping a long period of political uncertainty in the Russian-aligned country.
Mr. Japarov was elected prime minister in October and also served as acting president after Mr. Jeenbekov’s resignation.
Those protests, sparked by allegations of vote buying in last October’s parliamentary elections, alarmed Moscow and added to the Kremlin’s problems in its former Soviet periphery, which include a persistent protest movement in Belarus and a conflict in the South Caucasus that has seen Turkey’s influence grow there.
Mr. Japarov was leading with more than 79% of the votes cast after polls closed late Sunday, with more than 90% of the votes counted, Russian news agencies reported the country’s central election committee as saying. There were 17 candidates for the post. There were no reports of violence during voting.