Central Asia Monitor 1.21

by Central Asia Monitor on 11/27/2012

Kyrgyzstan Holds Local Elections…

On 25 November, voting took place in 23 cities across Kyrgyzstan to elect deputies for municipal councils. As of 26 November, the Central Election Commission had tabulated results for 21 cities. Of those, President Atambaev’s SDPK received a plurality of the votes in 11 cities while Respublika won in 4. Several other parties, including Ata Jurt and Butun Kyrgyzstan won two cities each. The Communist Party won a plurality in one city. With over 93% of votes counted in Bishkek as of 27 November, SDPK leads in Bishkek. The results of these elections are especially significant as municipal councils are now responsible for electing mayors. (26-27 November CA-News, 24.kg) — NH

…While SDPK Accused of Using State Resources…

Kurmanbek Dyykanbaev, a member of the Respublika Party and parliamentary deputy, accused President Atambaev’s Social Democratic Party of using administrative resources to gain an advantage at the polls. He said that even though Respublika controls several provincial and municipal posts throughout the country, there is an “army of state employees” in each region that turn out to support the ruling party. Members of Ar Namys, including party leader Feliks Kulov, accused SDPK of fixing votes to protect its allies currently serving as mayors and to prevent rivals from gaining seats on city councils. (26-27 November 24.kg, EurasiaNet) — NH

…And Respublika is Accused of Carousel Voting and Intimidation

A video showing Nargiza Azhibaeva, leader of Respublika’s youth wing, explaining how to vote multiple times and erase markings on cast ballots was released and broadcast on several television stations. Respublika called the video a provocation orchestrated by the government and said it could not find Azhibaeva. Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation as a result of the video’s release. Meanwhile, the members of the electoral commission for precinct 1210 in Bishkek (Secondary School 69 in Pervomaisky District) said that a group of 25-30 young men with “athletic builds” broke windows and a door trying to break into the room where votes were being counted. (27 November 24.kg) — NH

Rahmon Urges Tajiks to Keep the Flag Close

Over the weekend, President Emomali Rahmon urged citizens of Tajikistan to keep the national flag close. Referring to foreign countries where national flags are omnipresent, he said that the best way to love and respect the country was to wear pins or buttons displaying the flag and to hang the flag in their homes or places of work. He added that this is important to strengthening the Tajik state and Tajik national consciousness. Flag Day was celebrated in Tajikistan on 24 November. (26 November Lenta.ru) — NH

Uzbekistan Increases Natural Gas Deliveries to Southern Kazakhstan

During negotiations between KazTransGas and Uzbekneftegaz in Tashkent on 22 and 23 November, Uzbekistan agreed to increase its exports of natural gas to southern Kazakhstan to 3 billion cubic meters, an increase from 2 billion cubic meters. The two sides also agreed to increase Uzbekistan’s exports on the Turkmenistan-China pipeline by 0.5 billion cubic meters. KazTransGas said that it is pleased that this deal will improve the gas supply to southern Kazakhstan and avoid service disruptions. It is unclear what effect this might have on natural gas service in Uzbekistan, where shortages have become an annual problem during the winter. Uzbekistan prioritizes export of its natural gas and has pushed its citizens and businesses to use alternatives such as wood and coal. (27 November Regnum) — NH

Coca-Cola to Invest in Tajikistan

CA-News reported that Coca-Cola plans to invest to begin production in Tajikistan. Turkey-based Coca-Cola Icerek, the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world, will initially invest $30 million, and will double investments over the next decade. The State Committee of Investments is working with the company to sign a memorandum of cooperation outlining the way forward for the investment. Coca-Cola Icerek currently operates in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan, from which Coca-Cola products are currently important into Tajikistan. (23 November CA-News) — NH

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