Kyrgyzstan plunges into chaos after legislative annulment

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He ex-Soviet spaceor live moments of great convulsion. After the protests against election results in Belarus of the summer, the poisoning of the opponent Alekséi Navalni and the consequent tension experienced during the regional elections in Russia in mid-September, in addition to recent armed clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is now the turn of the remote Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. Two days of protests following legislative elections denounced as fraudulent by the majority of local political forces have forced the resignation of the prime minister, Kubatbek Voronov and the annulment of the elections. In the midst of a power vacuum that worries the country’s main allies, especially Russia, different opposition factions are leading a fierce struggle to gain influence.

It all started last Monday, when the results of the legislative elections held the day before were released. Only four political forces -Unity, My Home Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan and BK- obtained parliamentary representation, leaving out more than a dozen outraged political parties. Immediately, thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest against the results, reaching the headquarters of the government, of the Parliament, from town hall and from State Security Committee, and even managing to free political leaders accused in the past of various crimess. Given the turn of events, the head of state, Sooranbay Jeebenkov, has recommended reviewing the results to establish whether irregularities had occurred. On Tuesday, the Central Electoral Commission annulled the results of the elections, in a decision adopted unanimously with the aim of “preventing an increase in the tension in the country”.

Two opposition councils

But far from calming the turbulent waters of Kyrgyz internal politics, what happened has given free rein to the opposition factions to open a crude struggle for power, forming at least two rival opposition councils, while one of the competing parties, called Ta Zhurt, maneuvered to place his candidate at the head of the Executive, Sadyr Zhapárov. It is not clear that he succeeded, as an angry mob stormed the hotel where the parliamentary meeting was being held, forcing the candidate to flee. President Jeebenkov, a figure also widely questioned, has made numerous calls for calm, after acknowledging that the country was going through “its period more difficult“.” I ask all parties for restraint and patience and I remember that the interests of the State are above personal ambitions, “he emphasized.

Kyrgyzstan is a small mountainous country near 200,000 square kilometers, a size similar to Uruguay, bordering with China and with several former Soviet republics, and populated by 6.5 million inhabitants. With an economy heavily dependent on Russia, it has unhesitatingly integrated into the Eurasian Union, the economic alliance sponsored by the Kremlin with some former Soviet republics. Moscow has an air base in the city of Kant, about 20 kilometers of the capital, Bishkek, ceded until 2027 in exchange for a reduction of the debt contracted with Russia, according to the terms of a agreement signed in 2012. Precisely, the Russian president Vladimir Putin He has stated that he was closely observing events in the country, while wishing for a “peaceful resolution” of the conflict.

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