Kyrgyzstan’s new lawmakers, representing five political parties, took their oaths of office on November 10. The much-anticipated opening legislative session in Bishkek increased the pressure on squabbling political leaders to cobble together a coalition government.
A corruption crackdown is picking up speed in Kyrgyzstan. Forty-two new criminal cases involving the alleged theft of state assets are now underway against formerly high-ranking government officials. Among the looted assets are hundreds of millions of dollars in Russian economic assistance.
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.
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.
It seems that clemency is a dirty word for Kyrgyzstan’s kingpins and power brokers. In early September, Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government offered amnesty to anyone suspected of large-scale embezzlement in either the state or private sector.
There’s a tiny grave near an orphanage on the outskirts of Bishkek. It holds the body of an undersized 2-year-old girl who died in August from complications of a disease that is dangerous, yet often manageable in the United States.
While international leaders are still praising Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov for his restraint and efficiency in handling the June refugee crisis with Kyrgyzstan, recent developments indicate that Tashkent nevertheless feels it has to send some tough messages to Bishkek.