Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament Rejects Kulov as PM

by Nathan Hamm on 1/18/2007 · 2 comments

Say what you will of the good that Kyrgyzstan’s politicians are doing for the country. They certainly do provide a show. The same parliament that agreed to undo constitutional amendments that gave it more power just so they could hold onto their seats has rejected President Bakiev’s nomination of Feliks Kulov for Prime Minister, setting themselves up for possible dissolution. Bakiev can submit Kulov two more times, and if the parliament continues to reject him, Bakiev can dissolve the parliament. However, Bakiev only needs 15 votes, and plenty of parliamentarians have shown they are easily swayed by the offer of a little wealth and power. The only upshot of all this is that the longer things drag on, the more entertaining statements we get from Kyrgyz politicians.

“I may be wrong, but I believe your nomination will be rejected,” Beknazarov said. “Be brave and admit that you cannot perform your duties of prime minister. Admit that you have been unable to do so for the past year-and-a-half. I think it would be better if you refused [to be reappointed]. Be a man!”

In other political news, Marat Juraev thinks that Kyrgyz law could do with a little inspiration from the Shari’a. He proposes mutilations as punishment for corrupt civil servants.

Marat Juraev said that penalties under his draft would be proportional to the amount of stolen funds — for example, one finger chopped off for 100,000 soms ($2,500) and a hand for 1 million soms ($25,000).

Kulov said that he would not support the bill. No surprise there as it would stand to leave his patron’s family handless many times over.

Bakiyev’s domestic image is now at its low point. He has a reputation as a corrupt politician with a rural mindset who is unable to speak either Kyrgyz or Russian fluently. His closest relatives are being accused of corruption. Bakiyev has six younger brothers (one passed away recently) and two sons, all of who occupy high-ranking positions in national security structures, serve in the foreign service, or are engaged in large-scale businesses.

Erica Marat’s story details how Bakiev has slipped his family into a number of powerful positions across business and government that have allowed him to keep competitors from hindering him in his efforts to dominate Kyrgyzstan the way Akaev did. Someone tells Marat that the public’s opinion of Bakiev is that he is “stupid, but canny.” They’ve got that right. He comes off as fairly dull, but he has done extraordinarily well at keeping his competitors off-balance. But why would he think emulating Akaev will work out for him when he himself was involved in the protests that toppled the former president? Perhaps he doesn’t think he’ll do any better. Maybe he too is shooting for a professorship in Moscow.

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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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edil January 19, 2007 at 1:15 am

Kulov lost opposition support after November events.

Bakiev wasn’t interested in Kulov’s securing his position from the first vote. He wants Kulov by his side but everybody needs to know who does the head of govt owe his position. Nevertheless, Bakiev still needs Kulov.

Opposition want Kulov out to weaken and isolate Bakiev.

Gulzada January 19, 2007 at 3:06 pm

I am honestly ashamed and deeply regret that I voted for Bakiev. He hasn’t met any of my expectations as a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. I agee with Edil’s comment, and think that Bakiev owes his position to Kulov, as most people did vote for the current president because of Kulov, in all reality. It also saddens me to see Kulov not doing anything… or so it seems.
My earnest prayer is that God will intervene and do something to make the lives of my fellow citizen better.

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