The Tulip Revolution’s Bitter Blooms

by Nathan Hamm on 12/18/2007 · 1 comment

“For the first time, for the first time in my history as an election observer, I find myself in a situation where by stating now to you the conclusions of the election I can’t even guess, I can’t even guess, the rough composition of the coming parliament or even if there will be a parliament at all.” — Kimmo Kiljunen, head of the OSCE Election Monitoring Mission in Kyrgyzstan, remarking on how well the Kyrgyz parliamentary vote went.

The OSCE’s report of preliminary findings (PDF) on the election spells out the shortcomings of the election and the strange two threshold requirement that parties had to pass in order to win seats. (The report can be found in Russian and Kyrgyz at the OSCE page for the mission.) This requirement was part of the new voting system that came with the recent constitutional amendments of shady origin. Because of the need to pass two barriers to enter parliament — a minimum percentage of the overall vote and at least 0.5% of the vote in all regions, Bishkek, and Osh — early results had President Bakiev’s Ak Jol set to take control of the entire parliament despite having won less than half the vote.

Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court has struck down the 0.5% rule, but it’s unclear what the result will be. As RFE/RL’s Bruce Pannier notes, Ak Jol brought the complaint to the court. Might the party be worried that taking the whole parliament with only half the vote appear a bit too illegitimate for the public? Are they looking for a new vote altogether, or perhaps just to bring in Atameken and the Social Democrats?

The ball may not be in the president’s court, though. Small protests are reported to have broken out around the country, and Felix Kulov, who claims that his party was cheated out of votes, is teaming up with Ak Jol to protest the vote. Other parties and NGOs are also calling for new elections. Kyrgyzstan has seen more than enough protesting since the spring of 2005. Is this enough to get people back onto the streets?

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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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{ 1 comment }

Kuda December 20, 2007 at 7:26 am

Apparently 11 Social Democrats and 8 Communists have got seats with Ata Meken still protesting the results. A court ruling was held today.

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