Kyrgyzstan’s government collapses

BISHKEK, OCT. 24 (The Conway Bulletin) — Kyrgyzstan’s four-party coalition government collapsed after the Social Democrats withdrew their support for it, citing irreconcilable differences with their partners.

The break-up of the coalition ended Sooronbay Jeenbekov’s six month term as PM and forces parliament to try to patch together a third government in 2016. It also comes at a sensitive time for Kyrgyzstan’s young parliamentary democracy with only six weeks to go before a bitter and divisive referendum set for Dec. 11 on whether to boost the powers of the PM.

“We tried to keep the coalition, but the recent actions of certain individuals, now our former partners, exposed the problems,” a statement from the Social Democrats said. “We cannot be in coalition with those who are associated with the common interests of Akayev and Bakiyev and those who go against the national interests over constitutional reforms.”

References to Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev were to Kyrgyzstan’s two former presidents who were overthrown during revolutions in 2005 and 2010.

The Social Democrats are the party of President Almazbek Atambayev and he immediately charged them with forming a new government.

This will be difficult. The Social Democrats hold 38 of the 120-seat legislature and will have to make deals with some of the five other parties to patch together a government. If it fails, Mr Atambyaev will have to turn to another party to form a government or be forced to call a parliamentary election.

The collapse of the government underlines just how fragile Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary system is. Mr Jeenbekov was Kyrgyzstan’s sixth PM since constitutional changes in 2010 shifted power from the presidency to the PM.

Emil Joroev, a professor of Political Studies at the American University of Central Asia, said that the weak and short-lived governments were making Kyrgyzstan increasingly unstable.

“The collapse of the ruling coalition, and the corresponding fall of the government underscores the fragility of inter-party agreements the tendency of divisive single issues to trump over larger, encompassing development agendas, and the ease with which partners in a ruling coalition have been able to break it with no real accountability,” he said.

People in Bishkek had differing views on the collapse of the latest government. Some were frustrated but others just shrugged.

“We are not tired of changes, we are now used to seeing it this,” said Samat Joldoshbekov, 23.

The December referendum on extending the powers of the PM is controversial because opposition groups have accused Mr Atambayev of trying to take power by stealth.

The current constitution bars Mr Atambayev, 60, from standing in a presidential election next year but does not stop him from becoming PM later, a move that his opponents say he is planning.


The story was first published in issue 302 of the weekly Conway Bulletin newspaper

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