Kyrgyz president strips power from interior ministry

BISHKEK, July 4 (The Conway Bulletin) — Looking to subvert its growing influence ahead of a presidential election next year, the Kyrgyz government stripped the ministry of interior of some control over its most powerful units.

The reform reshuffled government units, awarding more independence to departments responsible for combating terrorism, drug trafficking and cracking down on economic crimes. The Prosecutor-General has also been stripped of its power to launch independent investigations.

Pres. Almazbek Atambayev said the reforms will strengthen the law.

“Today’s decision can be called historic. The law enforcement system reform should strengthen law and order, so that ordinary citizens, business, and investments are protected by the law,” media quoted him as saying at a government meeting.

Analysts were more circumspect. Bishkek-based political analyst Mars Sariyev said that changes looked designed to subvert an increasingly difficult-to-control security system.

“The security authorities had tried to undermine the power of some interest groups and their political ambitions,” he said.

And another, anonymous, analyst said the changes were probably linked to the departure last month of Melis Turganbayev as Kyrgyzstan’s interior minister who was considered by government ministers as maneuvering to position himself as a potential next president.

“There is no doubt that he was a very big political figure and that he was probably forced to leave to help bring the ministry of internal affairs more under the control of the government,” he said.

Kyrgyzstan is due to hold a presidential election in 2017.


>>This story was first published in issue 288 of The Conway Bulletin, an independent newspaper reporting on Central Asia and the South Caucasus

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