Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Kyrgyz parliament lays groundwork for new democracy

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-17

Kyrgyzstan's parliament elected a speaker and approved a new government on Friday, laying the groundwork for Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy. The election comes after months of tension and ethnic clashes that left over 400 people dead.

 

REUTERS - Kyrgyzstan's parliament elected a speaker and approved a new government on Friday, laying the foundation for Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy after months of upheaval and violence.
 
The country's Central Asian neighbours, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, have authoritarian presidential systems they deem essential in an area marked by ethnic and clan rivalries as well as Islamist insurgency.
 
The West, Russia and China all want access to the region's huge natural resources but are wary of any involvement that might worsen its ethnic and religious divisions.
 
The new Kyrgyz model of government, backed by the United States but previously criticised by former imperial master Russia, makes parliament the main decision-making body and gives the prime minister more power than the president.
 
Future presidents will be limited to a single six-year term but will have the right to appoint the defence minister and national security service head. Interim leader Roza Otunbayeva will step down on Dec. 31, 2011.
 
Candidates for speaker and prime minister, as well as the structure of the government, were proposed to parliament by Ata Zhurt (Motherland), the Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan and Respublika, which formed a governing coalition this week.
 
A previous three-party grouping had lasted just two days, failing to elect a speaker.
 
Ata Zhurt faction leader Akhmatbek Keldibekov was elected speaker by a 101-14 vote in the 120-seat legislature.
 
Deputies later approved Social Democratic Party leader Almazbek Atambayev as prime minister and Respublika leader Omurbek Babanov as first deputy prime minister.
 
Three failed attempts to elect a speaker and prime minister would have forced Otunbayeva to hold a new parliamentary election in the impoverished mountainous nation.
 
Tensions still run high in Kyrgyzstan after more than 400 people were killed in June clashes in the volatile south between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks.
 
Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic that hosts Russian and U.S. military air bases, held elections on Oct. 10 that resulted in five parties winning seats in the new legislature.
 
Ethnic tension, clans and radical Islam
 
Kyrgyzstan, a mainly Muslim nation of 5.4 million, lies on a drug trafficking route out of Afghanistan and is regionally and culturally divided into north and south. Clan rivalries and widespread cronyism are additional threats to the fragile peace.
 
"Now you will no longer be divided into reds and whites, or into regions," Atambayev told deputies. He did not elaborate.
 
Adding to general instability is the government's tenuous control of the south, which shares the Ferghana valley with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan where radical Islam is rising.
 
Longtime president Askar Akayev was forced to flee in 2005 after mass protests. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who deposed him and took over, suffered a similar fate in April this year and fled to Belarus following violence in which at least 85 were killed.
 
Proponents of parliamentary democracy say Kyrgyzstan's experience has shown the inefficiency of authoritarian rule and a lack of public control that allowed the plundering of state coffers by family clans.
 
"The nation must not be run by one family," Atambayev, 54, who was Bakiyev's prime minister before joining the opposition, told parliament. "There will now be strict control."
 
Keldibekov, 44, ran the state tax committee under Bakiyev. Babanov, a 40-year-old entrepreneur, was first deputy prime minister in Bakiyev's day.
 
"We must regain investor confidence," said Atambayev. He said gold deposits, ample hydro power resources and agriculture could be drivers of the country's future economic growth.
 
Keldibekov's swift election and the approval of Atambayev and Babanov could not hide sharply contrasting views within the coalition on Kyrgyzstan's future.
Ata Zhurt is strongly opposed to parliamentary rule and was fiercely critical of the interim government during the election campaign. Many party supporters favoured Bakiyev's leadership.
 
The Social Democrats are ardent supporters of Otunbayeva's plan to build the first parliamentary democracy in ex-Soviet Central Asia. Respublika also supports a parliamentary model.

 

Date created : 2010-12-17

  • KYRGYZTAN

    Nationalists stage upset in Kyrgyzstan vote

    Read more

  • KYRGYZSTAN

    Polls open for first parliamentary elections amid tight security

    Read more

  • KYRGYZSTAN

    Police clash with protestors during 'attempted coup'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)