Kyrgyzstan’s New Party

by Nathan Hamm on 4/18/2006 · 4 comments

Making enemies and general ineptness are no way to hold office. The former speaker of the parliament, Omurbek Tekebaev, is now head of a new coalition of parties and NGOs throwing their weight behind the April 29 protests demanding Bakiev get the country under control and speed up reforms.

“These are our main demands: carrying out constitutional reforms, and judiciary and legal reforms, fighting crime, and carrying out other reforms such as economic and regional reforms as well as having the central authorities relinquish some of their powers,” Baibolov said.

Alliance members say they will not be seeking the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev but they want him to be more efficient in carrying out democratic changes.

The alliance says that the government has 11 days to prove it is serious about stomping out corruption and criminality and enacting democratic reforms before they launch a campaign of protests.

For more coverage, see Kyrgyzstan Development Gateway and RIA Novosti.

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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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Brian April 18, 2006 at 6:35 pm

On its face, I think this is great. Their demands are straightforward, and their means are thus far peaceful. Actually, if they succeed in pressuring some reform it would be a good example of the power of free-speech to bring about some accountability.

I just fear what may happen if 11 days pass with nothing happening or Bakiev issuing some stupid response saying “things take time” or “don’t create any instability”.

Matt W April 18, 2006 at 8:55 pm

Demands like this, while perhaps positive as a tendency, aren’t meant to produce immediate results– it’s just more muscle flexing like the whole “Let Bakiev the dog hang himself from the first tree” thing. If Bakiev does nothing, it’s still a good starting platform for the new party/ bloc. If Bakiev does do something, they get to say “we made him do it, but it’s still not enough”.

Tekebaev, I think, is just positioning himself to be in a good place if Bakiev is forced out of office– or at least to run against him at the next elections. His scandal of a couple months ago got him wide name recognition (wider than when he was speaker). Now he’s getting organized.

KJ April 18, 2006 at 8:56 pm

The general feeling in Bishkek (but not the rest of the country) is that Bakiev’s time is up. Cozying up to Ryspek and failing to live up to his promises of constitutional reform have caused many of his early defenders to turn against him. Regardless of what he does in the next 11 days, his days are numbered. The hope of March 24th is lost and he has many opponents chomping at the bit to replace him and his cronies.

The big question we should be talking about is whether or not he will use force to keep his opponents at bay or whether he will flee to Moscow like Akayev.

There is a feeling that the upcoming protests will turn violent as Bakiev unleashes the throngs of “sportsmen” to fight the crowds. Also, what will happen to Kulov? His party is at the forefront of this opposition and Bakiev’s distrust must only be growing daily. he will either be arrested or put in a position where Ryspek can finally reach him and kill him as he has long promised.

Rustam April 19, 2006 at 6:28 am

Yes, one can approach this issue from this perspective, i.e. demanding the immediate resignation of Bakiev-Kulov tandem, making swift statements that they have failed everything and “the hope of 24th of March is lost”. However, BUT, being an Uzbek and comparing what is going on in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan I would urge the Kyrgyz people not to go along with the Tekebaev and give a bit more time for Bakiev. How anyone can really expect Bakiev to produce reforms in less than one year that would fix the mess that has been gathering in the country for 15 years. The whole year he spent dealing with the parliament, governors in the provinces, law enforcement agencies, etc., it is the time that anyone will need to consolidate their power, the power that any President needs to launch Constitutional reforms and fight with the street, “mafia”. How can Tekebaev and Baisalov, with all due respect, judge the actions of Bakiev regarding this criminal Ryspek, i.e. that he was forced, in order to keep order to go to them personally and urge them to settle the dispute in court instead of organizing protest in Bishkek, igniting the situation even more, and make a statement that he is openly supporting or even championing the inclusion of criminals in the legislature and in the executive, that he is not fighting the criminals. How can he fight the criminals, what did he personally do wrong in this situation, he told them to go to court, Ryspek went and court decided in his favour, this is the division of power, between legislative, executive and judicial system in its perfect, yes court perhaps was persuaded by Ryspek or was incompetent, corrupt, but this the one of the most important areas to be reformed and it will take more than a year to get a grip on courts. How can they expect constitutional reforms to be carried out in less than one year and furthermore, Bakiev promised that by September the Parliament will have the Draft of the proposals on Constitutional reform. I just think that Tekebaev will have the same problems and will require the same amount of time, if not more, to settle these issues. He does not even have a platform that any other ordinary, normal party in democratic countries should have, to this day he did not present any concrete step-by-step action plane with time periods for them to be implemented, instead what he says makes me remember Karimov, “our goal is to achieve democratic civil society based on open, free market economy”, can you say better than this, everything in one sentence, one small thing missing is HOW and WHEN. The country, its people, businesses, will lose, more riots in the streets, and more time spent just for the sake of obtaining power between these politicians. AND, for me for an Uzbek, it will be the case to which Karimov and his killers will point and use for propaganda, like I TOLD YOU SO, this is what “democracy” means in reality, so thank me instead of thinking about upcoming Presidential elections because I am the guarantor of a stability.
I would like to see for Tekebaev to get hold of his ambitions for a while, make this party develop, get more seats in the parliament, get your people appointed as governors of provinces, and take part in all these reforms, be powerful opposition, and keep the energy in the masses, this willingness to protest. Then, if in September he will not bring the Draft to the Parliament, if he lets Ryspek to meddle in the governments’ business, or have any influence what so ever in the affairs of law enforcement agencies, starts to drift from ensuring ALL civil and political rights, then and only then call the masses into the streets and put before Bakiev all the allegations and the proof that he has chosen like all the other “leaders” in CA an authoritarian path as opposed to democratic and therefore he and his vassals should be rooted out from the high office that they were occupying.

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