Category Archives: Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan – Coalition deal

There are reports that a coalition deal has been agreed in Kyrgyzstan. Both eng.24.kg and RFE/RL are reporting that a three-party coalition deal has been agreed and that it will be announced today.

The reports both suggest that a deal has been agreed between Respublika (Republic), the SDPK, and Ata-Zhurt (IDPP, Fatherland). This would give the coalition 77 of the 120 seats in parliament.

Reportedly, the Social Democrat leader will be the prime minister, the Ata-Zhurt leader will be the speaker of parliament and the Respublika leader will be the first deputy prime minister.

Kyrgyzstan – Coalition negotiations

The eng24.kg news service is providing regular updates about the coalition talks in Kyrgyzstan. They are proving as difficult as expected.

Adam Carr’s website provides a summary of the final results:

As expected, there will have to be a three-party coalition if the government is to have majority support.

It now seems as if the two blocks have formed. On one side, there is Ar-Namys (Dignity) and Ata-Zhurt (IDPP, known as Fatherland). On the other side, there is Respublika (Republic) and the SDPK. So, the Ata Meken (also known as Fatherland – Socialist Party) is the kingmaker at the moment. Regional issues, personal issues and ideological issues are all in the mix, making agreement very difficult.

The Carnegie Endowment website has an extremely useful background piece on the various parties and the election as well as regular updates. It helps to make some sense of the various groups.

Kyrgyzstan – Parliamentary election (updated)

In Kyrgyzstan the first parliamentary election under the new constitution was held on Sunday. A set of seemingly definitive results has been issued, even though certain parties are contesting the final figures. That said, the official results do not make very much sense to me.

These are the results from the Central Electoral Commission for the five parties that crossed the five per cent threshold:

Ata-Jurt – 8.89%, 28 seats
SDPK (Social Democratic Party) – 8.03%, 26 seats
Ar-Namys – 7.74%, 25 seats
Respublica – 7.24%, 23 seats
Ata-Meken – 5.6%, 18 seats
Total 120 seats

The next party, Butun Kyrgyzstan, won 4.84% and is contesting the result, claiming that it crossed the threshold. Anyway, as you can see, even though I have not reported the small percentages for many other parties, the total is nowhere near 100%. So, I, for one, am confused.

Assuming the results stand, they mean that three parties will be needed to form a coalition. Ata-Jurt represents the supporters of the ousted leader of the Tulip Revolution-turned-semi-authoritarian leader, Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The SDPK is led by the acting president, Roza Otunbayeva, who led the revolution against Bakiyev. So, in theory, there is little common ground between them. Ar-Namys (Dignity) dates back to 1999. Ata-Meken dates back to 1992 and seems to be an ally of the SDPK. I have no details about Respublica, but RFE/RL reports that it may be the third party in a coalition with SDPK and Ata-Meken.

Generally, there is a feeling that the election was relatively fair, but that the results may lead to gridlock, which could be damaging.

Update:

The official figures (4 November) from the Central Election Commission as reported by the Kyrgyzstan News Agency are as follows:

Ata-Zhurt (8.4 percent)
Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (7.83 percent)
Ar-Namys (7.57 percent)
Respublica (6.93 percent)
Ata-Meken (5.49 percent)

The seat distribution is the same as before.

Kyrgyzstan – Draft constitution approved

In Kyrgyzstan the Central Election Commission is reporting that the draft constitution has been overwhelmingly approved in yesterday’s referendum.

The report states that 93.75% of votes have been counted and that only 145,321 people (7.84%) voted against the new document. The final result is promised later this week.

So, after an interim period lasting only a couple of months, a semi-presidential constitution has been officially restored.

Kyrgyzstan – Draft constitution

The draft constitution of Kyrgyzstan is now available in English from the Venice Commission website. In addition, there are also documents that flesh out the current interim constitutional situation. The draft constitution is clearly semi-presidential, as defined in this blog.

Given the ongoing violence in Kyrgyzstan, particularly in the south, there is a doubt as to whether the referendum that is due to be held on 27 June will go ahead. The referendum is designed for people to have the chance to vote on the draft constitution. RFE/RL reports that the government is still determined to hold the referendum.

Kyrgyzstan – Constitutional situation clarified

The good news is that the draft of the new Kyrgyzstan constitution is now available. The bad news is that it is only available in, I think, Kyrgyz. The text is available here.

My Kyrgyz not being up to very much, I have had to rely on other sources. One useful report was issued by Interfax. The bottom line is that the constitution is almost certainly semi-presidential.

Here are some key points from the article (rephrased by me, if necessary):

“… the parliament will approve the composition of the government, a power which was formerly held by the president.

The parliamentarians will pass motions of confidence and no confidence in the government and approve all state programs. The government will be accountable only to the parliament.

The president will approve a candidate for prime minister, while the parliament will approve the government structure and composition.

The prime minister will be nominated by the victorious party or parliament factions if the victorious party does not gain the appropriate number of parliament seats.”

In the report, there is no mention of a directly elected president, but my understanding is that the president will remain directly elected. If so, and if this version is approved, then Kyrgyzstan will have a premier-presidential version of semi-presidentialism.

Kyrgyzstan – Constitutional situation

Following the opposition takeover in Kyrgyzstan, I wondered about the constitutional status of the country. Given there was a self-declared interim government, that the president had not resigned, that parliament had been dissolved (and now the Constitutional Court has been dissolved too), I wondered whether Kyrgyzstan could still be considered semi-presidential or had the constitution been suspended?

There is a post at the usually reliable 24.kg blog that should clarify the position. I will quote it in full and you can decide whether or not it does. They provide an English (of sorts) version of the text of the decree signed by the head of the interim government, Roza Otunbaeva. This is the text of Decree no. 1, 7 April 2010:

““In purposes of creation of effective system of the government  ruling on behalf of Kyrgyz people the interim government passes the present decree: the power is passed to the interim government until adoption of the new edition of Constitution; Constitution adopted by referendum of October 21, 2010 is legally valid; Zhogorku Kenesh is dissolved by the present decree; the activity of Central Election Committee is stopped until adoption of the new Election Code; the structure of the government adopted by the Law KR “Adoption of the government structure” of October, 2009 is temporary kept; credentials and functions of the machinery of state and ZhK KR are passed to the interim government apparatus; employees of these machineries not involved in the work of the interim government will have holidays with further leaving without pay in accordance with the labour legislation of KR; state bodies with exception of president apparatus, president’s secretariat, CADII, service of the state councilor for defense, security and order, president’s council, development council, and state minister of foreign affairs, are passed to the competence of the interim government; heads of local administrations and local governing, heads of diplomatic missions in foreign countries, state organizations and enterprises continue to fulfill their duties until appropriate decision of the interim government; the head of  interim government machinery has to organize liquidation committee for accepting and passing documentation and material sources of liquidating structures in the competence of the interim government in the accordance with the prescribed order; appointments and dismisses envisaged by Constitution are conducted by decrees of the interim government; conducting elections in Zhogorku Kenesh is appointed by decree of the interim government; judges of all courts of KR [Kyrgyz Republic ed.] with unfair behavior and criminal liable can be dismissed by decree. The present decree become valid after signing and acts within transition period until accepting a proper decision of the interim government. The head of the interim government KR Roza Otunbaeva”.

Basically, as far as I can tell, the interim government is claiming that the Constitution is still in operation, though I assume it means the Constitution adopted by the referendum of 21 October 2007. Having said that, it is unclear to me that the Constitution allows an interim government to decide everything by decree. Anyway, for the time being I am working on the assumption that legally Kyrgyzstan is still semi-presidential.

Kyrgyzstan – Opposition seizes power?

As you may have read, the situation in Kyrgyzstan is very fluid. On Thursday, following two days of riots in which up to 68 people are said to have died, the opposition claimed that it had seized power and that President Kurmanbek Bakiev had fled.

Roza Otunbayeva has been declared the head of an interim government after, so RFE/RL reports, Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov “signed a letter of resignation”, though this is disputed. The report goes on to say that Otunbayeva “would coordinate an interim administration for at least six months until a new constitution is drafted that would pave the way for ‘fair’ presidential and parliamentary elections”. According to eng.24.kg, Otunbayeva is reported as saying that the parliament will be dissolved and that: “As a whole the interim government will be guided by the decree about delegation of power. I want to note that powers of the President and the government will be transferred to the interim government, and the activity of the Central Electoral Commission will be suspended until adoption of a new code on elections”. There is some background information on Otunbayeva here.

In the meantime, President Bakiev’s whereabouts are unknown, though RFE/RL reports that he has sounded a note of defiance. Interestingly, RFE/RL reports that Vladimir Putin spoke to Otunbaeva by phone today in her capacity as the “head of the Kyrgyz government of national confidence”. So, it looks like the former opposition has seized control.

Undoubtedly, Bakiev’s rule was increasingly authoritarian and opposition parties were unable to operate freely. Certainly, he seems to have received little support from the international community in the last couple of days.

In terms of Kyrgyzstan’s semi-presidential status, it is difficult to know what the situation is. The claim from Otunbayeva that there has been a “decree about delegation of power” suggests that the constitution has been suspended. However, it is perhaps too early to tell.

It is worth following the reports at Eurasianet, where there is a lot of information and useful analysis.

Kyrgyzstan – Constitutional amendments

Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of adopting a number of constitutional amendments. The details are very sketchy but there is some information of the eng.24.kg website.

According to the report, “the amendments deprive the president of [the] right to appoint [the] Secretary of State. The post has been abolished as a part of the state administration reforms in the country. The draft bill also provides for [abolition] of the president’s executive office, the Security Council, the National Guard”. The report goes on to say: “the document also proposes to delegate powers [relating to the creation of the] Presidential Council and other consultative and coordinating bodies to the head of the state.” This Council is, I believe, a new institution that is designed to be a consultative committee that will include representatives of state institutions and civil society.

A copy of the 2007 constitution that was adopted in a referendum then is available here.

Kyrgyzstan – New PM

RFE/RL reports that Kyrgyzstan has a new prime minister. The previous incumbent, Igor Chudinov, was appointed by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in December 2007. President Bakiev was re-elected earlier this year. (See previous post).

The reports states that President Bakiev issued a decree earlier this week that reformed the administration and precipitated the change of government.

Details of the reforms are difficult to come by, but, apparently, the presidency will now coordinate a number of key institutions. An agency reports (eng.24.kg) states the following: “The new structure will include government bodies under direct administration of the president such as: presidential apparatus, secretariat, the Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovations of Kyrgyzstan, defense, security and law order adviser to the president and the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister.

In addition, the number of ministries has been reduced and ministerial functions reorganised. The same source states: “The president said the new government structure will consist of 14 ministries – ministry of finance, justice ministry, ministry of internal affairs, ministry of emergency situations and energy, ministry of economic regulation, ministry of agriculture, ministry of natural resources, transport and communication ministry, ministry of state property, healthcare ministry, ministry of education and science, ministry of labor, employment and migration. And the fifteenth ministry – the government apparatus, which now will be cardinally different from the old one. The new government will include monitoring, analytical, control and administrative functions and implement regulatory, territorial, internal and external policies. “Generally speaking, the government will now work as a ministry of coordination,” Bakiev noted”.

After the president’s announcements about the reform, Prime Minister Chudinov resigned. He has been replaced by Daniyar Usenov. He had been the president’s chief of staff since January. There is more information about him here. Unsurprisingly, the ruling Ak Zhol party has approved the nomination.

It is difficult to see these changes other than in the context of the increasingly authoritarian situation in Kyrgyzstan.

In addition, there is a report that President Bakiev is about to submit a new constitution to parliament. The report, dated 13 October, states that “The Kyrgyz head of state has to choose between parliamentary, presidential or mixed forms of government”. The increasing authoritarianism in Kyrgyzstan would suggest that semi-presidentialism may be abandoned.