Kyrgyzstan Updates

by Nathan Hamm on 3/15/2005 · 4 comments

Updated Below

For the latest on Kyrgyzstan, click on Manas.
EDM’s report on the election is probably a good place to start. In sum, President Akayev has a huge majority in the new parliament, protests have spread, and an opposition congress has called for Akayev to resign.

Protests Abound

The first big news story after the second round of the election comes from Talas where the governor and a regional akim are being held captive by protesters.

Since the evening of March 14, Aidaraliyev and the head of the Bakai-Atin district have been held hostage by supporters of ex-head of the State Property Committee Ravshan Zheenbekov, who failed to receive enough votes to gain a seat in parliament. The participants in the action have declared that the two officials will remain in captivity until the court passes a ruling on Zheenbekov’s suit demanding that the election returns be declared invalid, the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry’s press service told Interfax on Tuesday.

Not exactly the most confidence-inspiring way of fighting a court case…

I first learned of this via Thinking-East.Net‘s Ben Paarman. His source, a KelKel activist in Bishkek, also says that the government has organized counterprotests in the capital.

Birge! had more info on the Talas protest in AKIpress:*

Today the youth movement “Birge!” reported on the started of protests actions by supporters of R.Jeenbekov lost the elections. In particular, “Birge!” informs that about 1500 people blocked the road Talas – Taraz (Kazakhstan), near Kyzyl-tai village (Bakai-Ata region). It is the main road connecting the Oblast with Bishkek.

The protesting people point on bribery of voters by won candidate Jusup Imanaliev, they assure that his supporters paid 300 Soms to each voter and also gifted foodstuff.

By the information at 15:30, the action was in full swing, the requirements to cancel results the runoffs results were announced. According to Central Elections Commission in the runoffs R.Jeenbekov got 44.09%, and his competitor Jusup Imanaliev – 54.46%.

As for themselves, Birge! held a protest in Bishkek.

RFE/RL reports that there are protests in Talas, Toktogul, Khursab, Alai, Bakai-Ata, and Jalalabad. AKIpress reports that the Naryn protest has dispersed:

On March 13, 2005, the famous rights defender Tursunbek Akunov on the cell phone informed AKIpress about his detention. During a brief conversation he confirmed the fact of his detention by special services in midday of March 13 in gorge “Karaunkur” of Naryn Oblast. He also said that on that time he was transported in Bishkek by representatives of
National Security Services. The conversation has interrupted on that point.

As to his supporters, detained by militia, authorities of Naryn Oblast have persuaded them to refuse hunger-strike, promising to execute their requirements. In particular, each of them will receive bag of flour. Let’s remind, the protest march from Naryn to Bishkek to actions of militia during meeting on the central square with requirement of President’s resignation began on March 11.

Vyecherny Bishkek hits the nail on the head by saying that protests and unrest are best fought with clean politics.


Since the outcome of the election isn’t much of a surprise, it gets second billing. In fact, EurasiaNet’s article on the second round is appropriately titled No Surprises.

90% of new deputies are pro-government, but the BBC puts an interesting spin on the tiny minority of opposition legislators.

Observer Reports

The OSCE has found “significant shortcomings” with the second round but noted “technical improvements” over the first (link via Volodymyr Campaign).

“The Mission noted that some areas of concern remained unchanged from the first round, including lack of effective voter access to diverse sources of information, bias in the media, continued de-registration of candidates on minor grounds, which are within national law but restrict genuine competition, and inaccurate and poorly maintained voter lists. On the positive side, the right to assembly was more fully respected in the period between the two rounds of elections,” said Ambassador Lubomir Kopaj, Head of the Observation Mission.

No word yet from Markus Mueller on whether or not protesting the result is legitimate in the eyes of the OSCE.

Well, thank goodness for Western shills though. Some mysterious group called the London International Democracy Institute has declared the elections to be as pure as a snow-white lamb. I can find nothing about this group, but would not be surprised in the least if it was somehow affiliated with the British Helsinki Human Rights Group (whose tagline might as well be “Your dirty election declared clean in 30 minutes or your pizza’s free.”)

Thankfully there are more honest and constructive citizens within Kyrgyzstan monitoring the election. From AKIPress:

It is impossible to name the runoffs of Parliamentary elections past on Sunday honest. The leader of Coalition “For democracy and civil society” Edil Baisalov said today. “Organization of the runoffs was much worse than first round. There was no equal access of participation in elections for political parties, the numerous manipulations with the elections lists were carried out, the pressure by administrative bodies was watched,” – Baisalov reported.

AKIpress also reports the following observations from Interbilim:

For supervision over elective process the Center “Interbilim” prepared 30 independent observers on 17 sites of University constituency.

At 16.30 the Center’s observers registered the following infringements:
1. Mass transport of the voters on sites.
2. The PR-posters of Bermet Akaeva hang in front of many state institutions that contradict Elections Code.
3. The lists of the voters were not updated.
4. Many infringements revealed on February 27 were not eliminated (scheme of sites, lists of voters etc.).
5. On many sites the rights of the observers are limited. They are not allowed procedures, as check of the identification cards, distribution of bulletins and marking.
6. The chairmen of local commissions behave aggressively towards independent observers and observers of candidate B.Maripov. The support of Bermet Akaev on the part of elections commission is observed.

Other local observers also reported that they were not given enough access to accurately assess the vote.

It’s almost a waste of time to mention that the CIS approves of the election.


TOL’s coverage of the election. This story mentions that the US ambassador has criticized some of the protests, saying that matters should be solved peacefully. In fairness to the OSCE ambassador, Mr. Mueller, I’m sure that this is the position that he had. I have a hard time getting behind hostage-taking, especially when the government isn’t sending in the troops to violently disperse protests. If anything, violent protests are likely to be met with and legitimize a violent government response.

Another Peace Corps Volunteer comments.

More as it comes in.

* All stories without a link are via the Kyrgyz Election mailing list.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

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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