Kyrgyz PM steps down as acting president to run in election

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FILE PHOTO: Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Japarov attends a session of parliament in Bishkek
FILE PHOTO: Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Japarov attends a session of parliament in Bishkek

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov said on Saturday he had stepped down as acting president of the Central Asian nation as he applied to run in a Jan. 10 presidential election.

Japarov announced the plan to step down earlier this week, saying his close ally and parliamentary speaker Talant Mamytov would take over as acting head of state in line with the constitution.

Japarov, a 51-year-old nationalist politician, came to power after violent protests over a parliamentary election last month toppled the government of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Kyrgyzstan, the former Soviet republic, is known for its political volatility and is closely allied with Moscow and hosts a Russian military airbase. Its constitution bars caretaker leaders from running in any presidential election that they oversee.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, Editing by Timothy Heritage)