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Kyrgyzstan will mark on Monday the third anniversary of protests dubbed
Kyrgyzstan will mark on Monday the third anniversary of protests dubbed the "tulip revolution" that brought President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power, but the leader will skip the event for health reasons.

Bakiyev's trip to Germany for a "routine health check" was initially scheduled to take place from March 3 to March 17, but was extended until March 28, sparking rumors in his Central Asian homeland that his health is at serious risk.

However, the presidential press office dismissed the rumors.

"The president is in excellent shape," the press office said. "He will return to Bishkek late this week."

Bakiyev made March 24 a state holiday and a day off in the ex-Soviet country 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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