Autumn in Kyrgyztan

A hot autumn in Kyrgyzstan seems to be there. Interesting how many drafts on Constitutional Reforms can be read. And very intersting topic on the government system. The question relies on whether to adopt presidentialism , parliamentarism or semi-presidentialism.

WHAT WILL NOVEMBER 2 BRING IN KYRGYZSTAN? Nurshat Ababakirov in Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
Fueled by the reluctance of the President to carry out continuing demands, the opposition-minded Movement for Reforms plans to mount another rally on November 2. It is expected to be as large as the other two rallies that took place in late April and May of this year. The rally will call for the resignation of the political tandem between the president and prime minister.
The Council of the Movement for Reforms bases its claims on several arguments. First, it argues that the government ignored the will of the people of Kyrgyzstan by disregarding demands set at the meetings on 29 April and 27 May, the demands of Kurultai (people’s assembly) in Aksy on 17 September, and the resolution of Jogorku Kenesh (parliament) dated 22 September. Second, it contends that “family rule” and political persecutions still prevail. The heads of the intelligence services are said to be personally involved in the organization of political provocations.
Third, leading economic branches (power production, gas industry, Manas airport, railways, gold mining, and the custom service) are said to have been turned into “family businesses”. The prices for cement, roofing slates, and basic food staples is rising. Fourth, the opposition claims that the properties of Akaev’s family have passed to Bakiyev’s family. People still do not know the truth about the machinations that brought Kyrgyzstan to a humiliating debt trap. Fifth, the constitutional reform process has been suspended. Mass media is under pressure, whereas the KTR state channel has allegedly become a “family channel”. Sixth, according to the movement, the country is being openly visited by people who are on the international wanted list, leaving an indelible mark on the reputation of Kyrgyzstan. Finally, the opposition argues that according to the present Constitution, President Bakiyev is responsible for the current crisis situation by deliberately failing to carry out the constitutional and other reforms. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Felix Kulov bears moral responsibility for his conforming position.
On 12 September, the Civic Forum on the political situation, initiated by non-governmental organizations and the Movement for Reforms, took place. Nevertheless, the aim of the forum, a dialogue with the government to find a compromise before the rally, was not met. Among the invited top officials – the president, the speaker of parliament, and the prime minister, only the latter visited the forum. However, the apparent lack of a willingness to make concessions reinforced their plans to hold a street rally. The organizers expect about 15,000 people to participate.
Prime Minister Felix Kulov, who came to forum accompanied with his entourage, was counted upon to define his position, which in the eyes of many observers could determine the outcome of the process. Even though he encountered ample criticism, he continued to remain neutral, which could be detrimental to his political posture in the long run. Local experts point out that his firm position over the confrontation between the president and burgeoning opposition keeps the situation from spinning out of control.
“It is not about forced resignation. We want them to resign voluntarily”, says the member of the Movement for Reforms, member and former speaker of parliament Omurbek Tekebaev. It is not an “unconditional” demand for resignation, but a “means” to remind the government about their promises and to show our “decisiveness”, says Tekebaev. “The government still has time to embark on reforms and we want real action”.
The main aim of the Movement for Reforms is to change the system so that the state does not depend on one person. “We do not want to fill the current president’s seat”, says the leader of the Social-Democrat party, Almazbek Atambaev, a former Minister of Tourism and Industry. Early this month, Tekebaev assured that a constitutional vacuum would not follow if the government was to change: if the president, resigns the prime minister’s government will keep working, as well as the parliament.
Another member of the Movement for Reforms, parliamentarian Temir Sariev, said that the number of disappointed people within the close circle of president is growing, resulting in recent “frantic” reshuffling of the president’s administration. He believes that discontent is rooted in the way the president makes decisions, implying the salience of the “influences” of various individuals on decision-making. For some, this explains President Bakiyev’s absence in the forum.
How the rally will end remains to be seen, but the observers believe that the president should not underestimate the situation. Nonetheless, another “revolution” is not expected. “If ten thousand people make the government step down, then the next government will face the same situation,” said politician Ishak Masaliev. Given the easiness to gather people, Kyrgyzstan is at stake, he warned. In his view, the stumbling block between the opposition and the president is the type of government system to be adopted, something that has never been clarified. The general call for constitutional reform after the March 2005 events was meant to change the power balance between the three branches of government, but not the entire system. Accordingly, the opposition, advocating a parliamentary system and knowing President Bakiev’s unwillingness to comply, consciously leads to a standoff on constitutional reforms and disunity in order to eventually blame the president.

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