Posts Tagged ‘Kyrgyzstan’

The first issue of our MedEye VIP (Very Important Politicians) Digest will focus on the forthcoming presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan (the Kyrgyz Republic), to be held on 30 October 2011.20 candidates out of 83 registered met the requirements to run in these elections but 4 withdrew during the electoral campaign. However, only a few of them have real chances to go ahead in the electoral process. According to the new constitution of the first parliamentary republic of Central Asia, the next president of Kyrgyzstan will be elected for a six-year mandate and will not be allowed to run again for another term. The current president, Roza Otunbayeva, native of Osh but whose political strongholds are mainly in the North, will step down in December 2011. She became president after the overthrown of Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s regime following the April 2010 revolution.

The current coalition of government is made up of three parties: Ata Zhurt (Motherland), mostly based in the South, nationalistic and right-wing, winner of the latest parliamentary elections; the Social Democratic Party, and Respublika. The prime minister was, until September when he resigned for the electoral campaign, Almazbek Atambayev.

The turnout in the 2010 parliamentary elections was low (56.59%), above all if compared to the standards for elections in the region and to the previous Kyrgyz parliamentary elections. Many Uzbeks, after the violence and the clashes, did not vote. It is likely that many Uzbek voters will avoid to vote also this time. Below, the brief political bio of the three most important candidates, largely considered those with real chances at least to get access to the second round of voting.  The turnout of the vote in this occasion is expected to stand at about 70%.

The three main candidates for this ballot are:

ALMAZBEK ATAMBAYEV: 55 years old, he is the leader of the Social Democratic Party. Originally from the northern region of Chui. He is by no means the favourite runner for Presidency and the only candidate with some real chances to secure victory in the first round. He resigned from the position of Prime Minister at the beginning of the electoral campaign, after serving in this position since December 2010. He has a long political career: he ran twice for Presidency, the first time was in 2000, when he won 6% of the vote and the second one was in 2009, when he quit the competition on the day of the elections, complaining about irregularities and frauds.

The social bloc he represents is mainly based in the northern regions of the country, as he is very strong in the areas of Naryn, Talas, Issyik-kul and Chui and has also a rather good support in Bishkek. At the moment, he is the only candidate who has more than 10% of potential support in all the regions of the country and the most trusted among politicians in Kyrgyzstan. However, given the risks of disintegration of the country along its geopolitical North-South cleavage, he has tried to base his campaign on his commitment to reduce the impact of this geo-political cleavage and maintain the country united, although he is not as harsh as the other two candidates in its nationalistic rhetoric. Likely, this milder and moderate profile could help him to get some votes also from the Russian and Uzbek minorities.

He is considered a pro-business figure and has a strong support in the economic and industrial establishment, which are mainly based in the north. There are allegations that the withdrawal of Omurbek Tekebaev, leader of the moderate-leftist and southern Ata Meken (Fatherland) was due to the likely support of Tekebaev for Atambayev. In foreign policy, he has a strong and durable relationship with the Russian leadership. His message and his commitment to keep the country united is considered fundamental in Moscow’s view, as Russia fears the possible disintegration of Kyrgyzstan.

KAMCHIBEK TASHIYEV: 42 years old, one of the most important MPs in the Kyrgyz Parliament, he is the leader of  Ata Zhurt. He is originally from the southern town of Jalalabad, the city in which clashes between Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks erupted in May 2010. Yhis area remains its main political stronghold, but he is generally strongly rooted in the three southern regions, as his support is rather strong in the regions of Djalal-Abad, Batken and Osh while his support in the northern region is almost inexistent, and only a few small groups of harsh nationalists in these areas support him. The social bloc backing him is made mostly of supporters of former President Bakyev, whose Tashiyev was a strong ally.

Owner of a chain of petroleum stations, he was minister for the emergencies under Bakyev in 2007. He is characterized by a harsh nationalist rhetoric and he can be considered a right-winger in terms of political culture and ideology, as his main electoral slogan was “Law and order are the foundation for development” and he showed off in police uniform on the posters for the electoral campaign.

He had a very critical attitude toward the new parliamentary institutional arrangement of the Kyrgyz Republic, as he supports a more resolute presidential model. He was also very critical of the post-Bakyev government, criticizing the cabinet of Otunbayeva, blaming the government for ethnic clashes erupted in 2010. Shortly after the parliamentary elections won by his party, he accused the security service concerning an attempt to kill him in his Bishkek house.

ADAKHAN MADUMAROV: 46 years old. Originally from the area of Osh, he is the leader of Butuk Kyrgyzstan (United Kyrgyzstan). He was the “great loser” of the latest parliamentary elections. His party was created just a few months before the parliamentary elections of 2010 but it did not reach the threshold needed to seize seats in the Kyrgyz parliament. He is originally from the South as well, and his main stronghold is the Batken region, where about one/third of the voters should vote for him. His social bloc is similar to those of Tashiev and his appeal in the northern region is almost inexistent. Notably, he is supported by Ahmatbek Keldibekov, speaker of the parliament and an important member of Ata Zhurt, considered to be the main internal political rival of Tashiev within their party.

Sources: Reuters, Jamestown Foundation, 24kg, IPP-KG, M-Vector, IWPR, OSCE, Times of Central Asia, NewEurasia, The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, Idea.Int, RFE/RL, Eurasia.Net, Central Asia Newswire.

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Yesterday, I was so lucky to find in my mailbox lots of interesting readings. Just to mention the top three:

From the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush: Rethinking the Region” by Stratfor.

This week issue of OpenDemocracy edited by the valuable colleague Dennis Nottebaum.

Indonesia and the development of its Islamic finance market by the Diplomat.


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Presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan will be held on the 30th of October 2011. The deadline for candidates’ registration is approaching, as it is listed on the 15th of August. So far, already 26 candidates for the presidency have registered. Many of them are self-nominee. As soon as the situation concerning candidates’ registration will be clearer, I will post some biographies of the most important candidates. In my opinion, the future of Kyrgyzstan is one of the major issues concerning Central Asian stability in the coming years and presidential elections will mark a very important point to understand what will be the future of this country and of the whole Central Asia. A good debate of how and why these elections matter can be found here.

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One of the key moments of 2011 Central Asian politics will be Kyrgyzstan presidential elections, on the 30th of October 2011. Current President Roza Otunbaeva announced that she won’t run for a new mandate. Otunbaeva became president in April 2010 as she was named to manage the transition following Kurmanbek Bakiev’s fall.

Until now, five candidates have registered for the competition. The deadline for registration is listed on the 15th of August. Current Prime Minister, Almazbek Atambayev, said he will decide whether running or not only in August. Among all the possible runners for these elections, Atambayev is considered the most likely winner if he would join the race. One of the problems he could experience is his lack of “political depth” in the southern part of the country, as he is a northern. Regional cleavages are getting more and more important in the definition of political balances in Kyrgyzstan and an increasing stressing of country’s internal divisions is the main risk the country must face nowadays. The overall situation for the country is somehow critical, not only its political as well as ethnic balances. Forbes has recently ranked Kyrgyzstan the 7th worst economy of the world. Kyrgyz economy has improved over the past few months but some problems still must be faced. For instance, inflation is the major issue to tackle on, as in the first three months of 2011 it reached 20.3%, the highest rate among the CIS states.  Only when the names of all candidates will be officially released, a more correct idea on the future of the country could be made. The risk of regional fragmentation is the true, serious and immediate challenge that Kyrgyzstan must face over the coming months and, since Central Asian ethnic and territorial balances are generally “fragile”, the way in which Bishkek will manage this “geopolitical task” could say more about the overall future of the region as well.

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