Ata-Jurt supporters, mostly angry young men, rallied in front of parliament October 25 with huge posters of mutilated corpses, which they insisted were ethnic Kyrgyz killed during June’s violence in Osh. According to recent polling data, most southerners blame the interim government for the deadly clashes.
Members of the winning, opposition Ata-Jurt party say forces within the interim government, who feel they lost the election, are deliberately stalling, provoking instability so as to cancel the results and hold a new poll, party insiders tell EurasiaNet.org.
Provisional President Roza Otunbayeva has called for patience while problems with a small number of ballots are resolved. Yet her circle, which was reportedly shocked by Ata-Jurt’s win, may not be keen on a final result being released until the interim government can ensure a leg up in the future governing coalition, the Ata-Jurt skeptics say.
Suspicious events at the house of Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev are further muddying the situation. Tashiev says the head of the State Security Service (SNB) organized an attack on his home on October 23. Hundreds of his supporters have rallied over the past two days, demanding SNB Chief Keneshbek Dushebayev’s dismissal.
The head of the controversial party that won the most votes in Kyrgyzstan’s recent parliamentary elections has accused the country’s intelligence chief of organizing an attempt to assassinate him on October 23.
Ata-Jurt party leaders said Kamchybek Tashiev’s security guards had fought off an attack by four or five armed men against his suburban Bishkek home earlier that evening. No one was reported killed.
At a hastily arranged press conference, Tashiev said the head of the State Security Service (SNB), Keneshbek Dushebayev, was behind the attack and called for his dismissal, in a move likely to further inflame tensions between the party and the security services.
“They broke in like bandits. They had weapons, Makarov pistols, and personal identification numbers of secret service employees,” Tashiev said, according to 24.kg. “This is why I can confidently state that these were employees of the State Security Service.”
Ata-Jurt, typically considered a nationalist party, has strong support in the South but little in Bishkek.
Japarov noted that Tashiev’s security detail was unarmed. Ultimately, according to Japarov, the attackers fled. However, the security detail managed to confiscate four Makarov pistols. Moreover, one of the attackers dropped an SNB employee ID.
As politicians in Kyrgyzstan vie to form the next government in Bishkek, it seems the path to power goes through Moscow. Russian leaders, however, appear to be nervous kingmakers. The chief concern in the Kremlin is that Kyrgyzstan’s new constitution, which transforms the Central Asian state into a parliamentary democracy, will produce governmental gridlock.
He looks like a poor loser, but he may have a point.
The leader of an opposition party that authorities say lost in the October 10 parliamentary elections has threatened he cannot control his followers who may resort to violence.
"I am warning -- the mood of the people is serious, their patience has run out," Butun Kyrgyzstan leader Adakhan Madumarov told a news conference on October 19 before hundreds of supporters rallied outside the parliament building in Bishkek.
Though he’s been making similarly dramatic statements for over a week, he is right that there is something fishy in the election rules that shut his party out.
Kyrgyzstan’s confusing vote tally is based on a proportional list system. To enter parliament, a party must receive at least 5 percent of the total possible votes.
Members of the nationalist-leaning, southern-based Butun Kyrgyzstan began rallying on October 12 after the Central Election Commission announced that the total number of eligible voters had turned out to be about 3 million instead of the originally estimated 2.8 million. This bumped up the threshold for entering parliament by about 10,000 votes, which, for Butun Kyrgyzstan, made the difference between in or out.
The CEC says Butun Kyrgyzstan received 4.84 percent of the 3 million. Butun Kyrgyzstan supporters say they received over 5 percent of the 2.8 million.
Since Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashievreportedly said ahead of the October 10 vote that his colleagues were “the only ones who can bring Bakiyev back,” relatives of those killed in April (and assorted other hangers-on, now including parties that failed to win seats) have been rallying against Ata-Jurt taking its rightful place in parliament.
An organizer from the group Meken Sheyitteri (“Homeland’s Martyrs”) told 24.kg that protesters are demanding the election results be cancelled. Yet the vote was praised by the OSCE and called the freest election in Kyrgyzstan’s history.
On October 19, a surly crowd held yet another rally as riot police watched from a nearby park. Though organizers have told local press they are beginning a hunger strike, some were passing out food to participants (and seemed especially unhappy to be photographed in the act) – a tried and tested way to bolster support in Kyrgyzstan and keep the protest alive.
This year, according to the whitewater-rafting guide, the water was too high, it was too dangerous. The group of beginners he was guiding down one of Kyrgyzstan’s most accessible rivers couldn’t handle the rapids ahead. Downstream, reservoirs were overflowing, causing authorities to lament the loss of precious water in summertime when it isn’t needed to make electricity.
No sooner had Kyrgyz voters picked their fab five, then a gaggle of the winners were off to Moscow to seek instructions on how to form a coalition, and who should lead it.
In the days up to the October 10 vote, there were signs of a possible coalition involving Ar-Namys, Ata-Jurt, and Respublika, the three parties who’s leaders, according to Vremya Novostei, were in Moscow yesterday.
Remember those rail cars languishing on the Uzbek-Tajik border?
Since Tashkent started playing with freight deliveries early this year, blocking hundreds of rail cars en route to Tajikistan, Dushanbe has been looking desperately for international support. Tashkent is putting on the squeeze, but no one seems to care. Now Dushanbe has gone to the OSCE, RFE/RL reports.
Tajik Ambassador to the OSCE Nurmuhammad Shamsov told RFE/RL on October 13 that he informed a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on October 7 that help in finding "a fair solution" to the standoff is urgently needed.
He said some 884 freight cars carrying food, medication, construction materials, and fuel are currently held up on the Uzbek side of their border and at other locations in Uzbekistan.
Tajik officials say Uzbekistan is doing everything it can to stop the construction of Dushanbe’s beloved Rogun hydropower plant. Uzbek officials say the delays are technical, that they are repairing stretches of track damaged by spring floods (even though the delays started in winter, before the floods).
Too bad for Tajikistan that the OSCE’s not in the rail repair business.
During Kyrgyzstan’s surprisingly peaceful parliamentary election campaign, Kamchybek Tashiev was one of the most divisive candidates. As a leader of the party with the most votes, Ata-Jurt, he is now set for one of the most prominent positions in a future government.
All in all, Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary elections couldn't have gone more smoothly. Now, with five parties qualifying for representation in the next parliament, attention in Bishkek is turning to the complex task of coalition building. The fragmented voting results may make it difficult to build a stable governing coalition under the country's new parliamentary system.