Kyrgyz Democracy Watch

by Nathan Hamm on 1/10/2005 · 5 comments

Kyrgyz protests demanding fair elections have entered day three. The protests are still small, but the People’s Movement has joined supporters of former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbaeva.

Otunbaeva, one of the leaders of the Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party, was initially granted permission to run, but that permission was later revoked because of restrictions on former ambassadors. The opposition says the denial is politically motivated.

Otunbaeva, wearing a trademark yellow scarf recalling the vivid orange of Ukraine’s opposition, told the rally she believes Kyrgyzstan needs radical changes. “We will vote for real genuine changes,” she said.

Another opposition bloc, the People’s Movement, joined the protests today. Former Education Minister Ishengul Boljurova addressed the protesters: “You are witnessing that the situation is getting grave, because the White House has been organizing closed-door sessions in all the seven regions giving orders [to local authorities] and saying, ‘You should elect these people [in the approved list] and you should not elect those [in the black list.]'”

President Akayev is taking notice. He responded to the protests, saying, “I think this is unruly, irresponsible [behavior] and overall libel.”

Protesters say they will continue their protests tomorrow.

UPDATE: A more recent government response.

BISHKEK, January 10 (Itar-Tass) — There are no conditions for ‘velvet revolutions’ to take place in Kyrgyzstan during the parliamentary and presidential elections, due to be held here in 2005, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov said here on Monday.

According to Aitmatov, all the branches of state power in Kyrgyzstan drew conclusions from previous electoral campaigns, took into consideration observations of international observers and national political associations on the reforming of the electoral process and “tried to eliminate the defects, with a view to preventing vote rigging.” “As a result of this work, we are going to use transparent ballot boxes at the coming elections. Besides, the fingers of the electors will be market with a special ink, which cannot be washed off during 24 hours,” Aitmatov said.

He urged the opposition not to use various forms of exerting pressure on the authorities, and to refrain from appeals to civil disobedience actions.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 1 comment }

Democrat January 17, 2005 at 4:08 am

Please note and forward.

The government and the President’s family are engaged in ‘black PR’ by disseminating slandering information about the opposition and fake articles allegedly from exisiting sources. They come from emails such as this:
Hosting account []

The Rose Damped Off Without Flowering

Number of Kyrgyz analysts, evaluating the situation in the republic before parliamentary elections, agree in opinion that opposition starts suffering considerable losses at the stage of nominating their representatives as candidates to deputy.

Former Foreign Minister Rosa Otunbaeva has already been left in the basket, not having been registered in the Central Election Commission. In point of fact her destiny was decided by legislators, and among their amount there were a lot of companions of Otunbaeva. They almost unanimously adopted amendments to the Elections Code of the KR that require candidates to reside for no less than 5 years on the territory of the republic. And since R. Otunbaev returned to her Homeland only couple of months ago, she doesn’t have right to run for deputy. In light of present pre-election events, we cane make conclusion: deputies knowingly undertook this step understanding that there are no friends in politics. Co-chairman of the new Kyrgyz Political Movement “Atajurt” (“Homeland”) R. Otunbaeva is needed for her party colleagues not as an election competitor, but as a person, who can gather great political scandal around it, distracting opponents and the publi c.

For today the incident, as to say, is over. R. Otunbaeva has completed her mission. Fellow deputies express their opinions more cynically: “As a politician Rosa is nobody, but we made a good use of her name!”

Who is next in the elimination list? This will be clear in few days.

The fight among candidates has already started and probably just few “scapegoats” will come to finish.


Scandal in “Motherland”

Protest Action undertaken by followers of the Kyrgyz Political Movement “Motherland” in support of R. Otunbaeva grew into scandal between leaders of the block.

The reason of refusal to register Otunbaeva was residential qualification: according to requirements of the Kyrgyz Elections Code only citizens having resided on the territory of the country for past five years, may be a candidate in elections to the Parliament – Jogorku Kenesh.

Otunbaeva came to the republic very recently – she has worked in “pre-revolutionary” Georgia, that is why according to Law doesn’t have right to participate in parliamentary elections.
This morning former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador accused her block colleague in treason of country’s interests, referring to the fact that he has been ardent supporter of the introduction of above-mentioned limitation for the candidates.

In response A. Madumarov known for his adherence to principle and considerable share of nationalism stated that interests of the country in particular require true patriots to win seats in parliament, who supported their Homeland in its joys and frustrations, but didn’t cool off in comfortable rooms of ambassadors abroad. It should be admitted that A. Madumarov is always tough regarding observation of legality, in spite of persons.

To all appearances this scandal will start the split of “Ata Jurt” movement into to camps, and each of them will support its own leader. Analysts believe this tendency in opposition will become stronger with time, because excessive ambitions of oppositionists don’t let them to be united during elections.

The Rose From Georgian Farm Is Not Taking Root in Kyrgyz Land

Reputation of the adherent of “rose”, “orange” and other similar revolution has played bad joke with the Co-Chairman of the New Kyrgyz Political Movement “Atadjurt” (Homeland) Roza Otunbaeva. Recent public opinion poll carried out by the IWPR, showed that rating of former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan and former Ambassador of this country to the Great Britain and Northern Ireland has fallen down almost to zero.

Analysts explain this phenomenon very simply. Firstly, R. Otunbaeva spent long period outside of the republic working. This, by the way, was the reason of not registering her in Central Election Commission as a candidate.

Secondly, returning to Kyrgyzstan and joining the opposition, former official made serious mistake. She organized rally on the capital’s square to protect herself according to Ukrainian scenario – using tents and orange symbols. Reaction of the residents of the republic was absolutely negative.

In spite of standard goals and tasks of “Atadjurt’s” pre-election campaign – combating corruption, poverty reduction, support to poor, development of industrial and agricultural sector, intentions of this block’s leadership cannot fool anybody. Population is radically against rallies and demonstrations, which cause destabilization of socio-economic situation in the country and lead it to the revolutionary chaos.

Vestnik SNG

How scared and helpless must one feel to resort to this?

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