( AP ) - Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court on Tuesday revoked a rule on vote counting that would have blocked an opposition party from winning seats in the national parliament.
The move came two days after parliamentary elections in which President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's party appeared to be on track to win all 90 seats in the legislature.
The prospect of a one-party parliament raised concerns about new turmoil in the former Soviet republic, which hosts both U.S. and Russian air bases and occupies a strategic position in energy-rich central Asia.
A sweep by Bakiyev's Ak Jol party would likely stir resentment in this country, where mass street demonstrations drove the previous president from power in March 2005 after disputed parliament elections.
Under election code changes introduced in October, a party needed to clear two barriers to win seats in parliament: it would have to get 5 percent of the nationwide vote, as well as 0.5 percent of the vote in each of the country's regions.
Incomplete results from Sunday's vote showed Bakiyev's party easily clearing both barriers. The opposition Ata Meken party, meanwhile, was tallying around 9 percent of the nationwide vote, but fell short of the 0.5 percent level in two regions.
Kyrgyzstan's political landscape includes intense regional and clan-based loyalties, and critics said the regional vote provision was aimed at blocking opposition parties.
Perhaps fearing postelection turmoil, Bakiyev's party filed suit with the Supreme Court a few days before the election to overturn the regional requirement.
Kyrgyzstan has been one of the region's most politically open countries, and the only one with an active opposition in parliament.
Along with complaints about the regional vote requirement, opposition parties accused government officials of rigging the vote, and monitors cited ballot stuffing. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the counting and tabulation of results, saying Monday that the vote "challenged transparency and accountability."
With more than 80 percent of ballots counted, Bakiyev's party was leading with nearly 48 percent of the vote, said Damir Lisovsky of the Central Elections Commission.
The specter of unrest protesting election results has raised concerns about the fate of the United States' Manas Air Base, near the capital, Bishkek, which has played a key role in supplying U.S. and allied forces fighting in Afghanistan.
Russia also has an air base in Kyrgyzstan. Russian President Vladimir Putin called Bakiyev to congratulate him on "the successful conduct of parliamentary elections" and assured him that "further strengthening of stability" in Kyrgyzstan would bolster ties with Russia, the Kremlin said.