Kyrgyz leader denies rumors of health problems

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who returned from Germany on Saturday after receiving medical treatment, denied reports that he is suffering from severe health problems. ( RIA Novosti)

Earlier this week, Bakiyev missed celebrations in Kyrgyzstan of the third anniversary of protests dubbed the "tulip revolution" that brought him to power. Bakiyev's extended stay in Germany for a "routine health check" sparked rumors in his Central Asian homeland that his health was at serious risk.

Asked about his health by a RIA Novosti correspondent on landing in Bishkek, Bakiyev said: "I feel excellent."

Explaining his long stay in Germany, he said: "The doctors told me: if you want to continue your active way of life, you have to undergo course of treatment."

The president said he has always enjoyed good health, and has not been admitted to hospital for 48 years.

Bakiyev had made March 24 a state holiday and a day off in the ex-Soviet country to mark the "tulip revolution" despite ethical objections from the opposition, which said thousands of ordinary Kyrgyz in the capital, Bishkek, suffered from street protests and mass looting three years ago.

The impoverished state has been in a state of constant instability since Bakiyev came to power, toppling his long-serving predecessor in 2005.

The opposition has accused Bakiyev of tightening his grip on power while failing to bring stability and economic growth. His party won most seats in parliament in the early December 2007 election, which came after two years of political upheaval.

Kyrgyzstan's main opposition party, Ata Meken, failed to win any parliamentary seats despite coming second, garnering 8.7% of the vote, due to a complicated threshold system, which meant that the party missed out on seats by a mere handful of votes.

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