Kyrgyzstan: Revolution Revisited
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Edil Baisalov
Executive Director,
Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society,

"[T]he changes initiated and promised on March 24 and during President [Kurmanbek] Bakiyev's election campaign should be completed. If they are not, then we can expect new upheavals. Excessive concentration of power in one person's hands leads to revolutionary events. The political community has demanded that a system of checks and balances be reinstated. . . Bakiyev and his team. . . used to criticize [ousted President Askar] Akayev for an excessive concentration of power . . . [N]ow the same situation continues and the 'solution' to the problem lies with an even greater concentration of power in the hands of the president. We will never agree to that . . .

NGOs [non-governmental organizations] . . . are monitoring the implementation of Bakiyev's campaign promises. Aside from constitutional reform, [Bakiyev promised] to investigate the Aksy shooting [killing of five protestors by police in the southern town of Aksy in 2002] and the perpetrators still have not been punished. [Bakiyev promised] to establish a public TV station, providing access to mass media for all, but we still have not gotten this. . .

We would like Bakiyev to become a leader who would be remembered for real and tangible historic changes. Right now, he promises us free lunches at schools and other things . . . [H]e keeps on repeating that 'it has not gotten worse,' while we see neighboring countries leaving us further behind. . .

We need to reach a situation where not a single president, not a single political force would feel that they hold a monopoly on the future of Kyrgyzstan. Until we've reached this kind of stability. . .civil society and the country's democratic and progressive forces will continue rocking the boat. . . The shock experienced by our country [on March 24] was too much of a price to pay for just replacing one name label on a door in Government House with another one.

We should pass a new constitution in the fall, not via a referendum, but through parliament and attain real changes which will lead to the creation of a system of checks and balances which will restrict the powers of an authoritarian leader, of the country's president."

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