Sunday in Kyrgyzstan

by Sekundar on 10/12/2010 · 9 comments

Over the weekend in Kyrgyzstan a parliamentary election took place, for the fate of 120 parliamentary seats, and indirectly on the adoption of a new constitution that weakens executive powers in favor of the legislature (Eurasianet/BBC/AlJ). The election loosely pitted nationalists of the law-and-order variety against social democrats, who favor a weakened presidency as a safeguard against the strongman tactics of Akayev and Bakiyev, and the type of violence that flared up earlier this year. Those who favor the old constitution have cited the violence as evidence of the need for strong leadership. Never mind that it may have been the last strongman who provoked it.

Voter turnout was clocked in at slightly over half by most counts (49-55%), with the highest turnout in Osh. Uzbeks, who make up 14% of the population, give or take (and were there long before the Soviets drew up the borders), were lacking on the ballot, according to some. The largest amount of votes went to the ethnocentric Ata-Zhurt party (“Fatherland”) at 9%, which did better in the south than the north, highlighting the divisions that still exist in the Osh area and elsewhere. While President Roza Otunbayeva had threatened to cancel the elections if the security situation deteriorated, she refrained from doing so, and two parties most loyal to her and the new constitution came in with 14% of the vote. The spoiler may be Felix Kulov with his 3rd place 7% – he is Russia’s number-one fan in the election, dislikes the new constitution, and supports a strong presidency. He may join forces with Ata-Zhurt, spelling trouble for the U.S. at Manas, the new constitution, and (somewhat ironically, given Kulov’s retrophilia) the Uzbek population of Kyrgyzstan.

Dire possible outcomes aside, the vote was over very serious issues and courses of action for the nation, and by most accounts, the voting was relatively clean. That, if nothing else, is this weekend’s good news.


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Sekundar works in national security, and has worked and studied in Central and South Asia.

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{ 9 comments }

Chris Merriman October 12, 2010 at 1:24 am

Totally off-topic, I realise, but I’ve been meaning to post a comment – the RSS feeds for the last week or two have only been displaying articles titles, not any of the content. Also the character count below the comment submission box doesn’t seem to work at all, tested in Chrome.

Nathan October 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

RSS feeds are showing full content for me.

I’ve never gotten the character count to work. I should just remove it.

Amira October 12, 2010 at 11:16 am

Chris, I was having the same problem, so I resubscribed to the feed and it’s back to normal.

Chris Merriman October 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

Thanks for the tip (should have tried already). I’m using Google Reader and all other feeds are displaying fine. I unsubscribed, re-subscribed (just checking, is everyone else using http://www.registan.net/index.php/feed/ ??) and still get empty posts with just the title displayed. The comments feed is still working fine though.

Grant October 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm

All of this still only seems to take up about 30% of the votes, has the rest been scattered around minor parties or am I missing something from lack of sleep?

Dilshod October 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Yeah, right, good news – Nazis came to power and formed a democratic gov’t.

Grant October 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm

There are many political factions and considering the weakness the government will probably have I seriously doubt it will be so bad.

MPM October 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

An analysis of the post-election situation in Kyrgyzstan by a Polish analytical centre:

http://172.20.10.42/en/publikacje/eastweek/2010-10-13/kyrgyzstan-free-elections-a-weak-state-little-hope-stable-government

Toryalay Shirzay October 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm

There you go again,you all keep singing about elections,elections in this corner of the world .These countries in central Asia have still a long way to go to reach political maturity before credible elections can be held.This takes time.What Kyrgyzstan,Afghanistan ,etc .need is a strong central government to keep different ethnic groups from committing murders and pogroms and keep the peace and facilitate economic development. But if you insist on election singing here,then you might rightly be called boneheads or meatheads if you prefer!

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