Kyrgyzstan’s provisional leaders are counting on an upcoming constitutional referendum to foster stability and legitimize the country’s political transition. But civil society activists are complaining that the provisional government’s referendum approach does more to sow doubts than boost confidence in the process.
A tax dispute is disrupting operations at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz interim government is charging tax on fuel imports for Manas, and the US government is refusing to pay, in what has the potential to develop into a major diplomatic standoff between Bishkek and Washington.
Some of the loudest criticism of Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government is coming from youth groups. Many youth activists feel they played a key role in forcing Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration from power and now they expect a say in how things are run in Bishkek.
Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government is trying to enforce a state of emergency in southern Jalal-abad Province after inter-ethnic clashes on May 19 between local Kyrgyz and Uzbeks left at least two dead and 71 injured.
Some believers in Kyrgyzstan think the political upheaval that brought down Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration has created a new opportunity to mix faith and politics. There’s even talk these days that Kyrgyzstan could become the second Central Asian state, after Tajikistan, to feature a legally operating Islamist political party.
Clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan on May 14 left at least one person dead and 63 wounded. The political violence came as the provisional government in Bishkek reasserted its authority in the South less than 24 hours after supporters of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev seized government buildings in three regional capitals.
At 3 pm on May 13, just a couple of hours before he would be ousted from office, Bektur Asanov, the provisional governor of Kyrgyzstan’s southern Jalal-abad province, appeared calm and unaware of looming danger. He even insisted that the provisional government faced no threat of a counter-strike by supporters of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, whose administration collapsed in early April.