Japarov seizes all levers of power in Kyrgyzstan

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Speaking to lawmakers assembled at the State Residence on October 16, Sadyr Japarov described his ascent to high office as the result of a “peaceful and legal transfer of power,” according to Eurasianet.


Sooronbai Jeenbekov is reportedly only the latest president in Kyrgyzstan to be expelled from office by the street. Unlike Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who were overthrown in 2005 and 2010, respectively, it does not appear that he will be compelled to go into exile.


MPs voted in the same session to lift a state of emergency in Bishkek that had been imposed to contain the disturbances that have paralyzed government since October 5 protests over discredited parliamentary elections spiraled into unrest.


Japarov, who was serving a prison sentence on kidnapping charges until he was released by his supporters on October 6, pledged that more elections will be held in the coming months.


A vote to pick a new president should be held by no later than January 10, he said. That date marks the last Sunday within the 90-day limit to elect a new president that was set ticking by Jeenbekov’s snap resignation.


Japarov also suggested changes should be made to parliamentary elections to reduce the current 7.0 percent threshold for parties to enter the legislature to 5.0 percent. And once a new parliament is elected, changes could be made to the constitution, he said.


A Central Elections Commission spokesperson told Eurasianet that parliamentary elections could take place on December 20.


Japarov has not yet disclosed whether he intends to flout the existing rules and run for president himself. Interim presidents are not, in theory, permitted to put themselves forward in an election to pick a head of state.


Eurasianet says the fact that Japarov has taken over the reins as interim president was itself only made possible through twisting of the rules, however. When Jeenbekov declared his resignation, the mantle should by rights have been passed to the speaker of parliament, Kanat Isayev, who was voted into his job by lawmakers earlier last week.


But pro-Japarov demonstrators had reportedly intimated that they would react poorly to Isayev becoming interim president. Recurrent chants of “Arrest Isayev!” among those crowds made the stakes clear.


Deputy parliament speaker Aida Kasymaliyeva reportedly told her colleagues on October 13 that she had come under intense pressure to back Japarov’s candidacy as prime minister.


According to Eurasianet, concerns about the soaring influence of the criminal underground have been voiced by international partners too. In a statement released earlier last week, the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek reportedly lamented what it described as “the attempt by organized crime groups to exert influence over politics and elections.”


Source: Asia Plus