Kyrgyzstan is a country located in the region of Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan has been developing in a certain democratic direction since the country was given a new constitution and held its first democratic elections in 2010. Kyrgyzstan is now governed by coalitions between mostly reform-friendly parties. However, a power struggle between the powerful President Sooronbai Jeenbekov and President Almazbek Atambayev has been close to throwing the country into new mutual conflicts.
2010 was a political upheaval when violent street protests in the capital Bishkek forced the authoritarian President Kurmanbek Bakijev into exile. The wave of violence spread to the southern end of the country; The unrest between Kyrgyz and the Uzbek minority in the Fergana Valley in the southwest led to the death of around 470 people. The majority of deaths were uz cup.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Kyrgyzstan, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
Despite the unrest, a new democratic constitution could be adopted later that year and in October the country held the first democratic elections (see Modern history). Since the parliamentary elections were held again in 2015, the largest party, the Social Democrats, formed a coalition government. After a reform in the fall of 2016, it consists of the Social Democrats, the Kyrgyz Party and Unity (for party description see Political system).
Social and ethnic contradictions
The policy is characterized by strong contradictions between an elite in the northern country and another elite in the south. Political violence is common, organized crime is extensive and the state apparatus is corrupt. A number of government members have also been convicted of corruption.
Poverty, mainly in southern Kyrgyzstan, has intensified the political and social tensions in the country and contributed to violent clashes between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority, mainly in the Fergana Valley in the southwest. The Fergana Valley is characterized by poverty, unemployment and overpopulation. The Uzbeks in the area feel discriminated against by the Kyrgyz, who in turn dislike the Uzbeks’ dominance in business in the city of Osh. Concerns in the Fergana Valley have been exacerbated by the influence of organized crime.
Even in the Bishkek area in the north, ethnic tensions prevail, mainly between Kyrgyz on the one hand and ethnic Russians and the Turkish people on the other.
Another problem is that militant Islamists invade Kyrgyz territory, from Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. The authorities are trying to control some religious communities, and several Imams in the south have been shut down for preaching “non-traditional teachings”. The Uzbek people believe that the authorities are trying to silence the oppositional Uz Cup on the pretext of fighting Islamic terrorism.
First peaceful change of president
Only in 2017 did Kyrgyzstan experience the first peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another. Then the Social Democratic Party candidate, the former Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov, won clearly and could succeed his party-mate Almazbek Atabayev, who has been sitting the only term of office allowed by the constitution.
In comparatively democratic Kyrgyzstan, Atambayev refrained from trying to change the constitution to his own advantage, unlike other presidents of former Soviet Central Asia. However, he hoped to retain some influence through his successor Jeenbekov.
The electoral movement in 2017 was not completely free from the turmoil and throwing of dirt, but it was much calmer than before the change of power.
Atambayev loses power struggle
In April 2018, there were clear signs of growing contradictions between President Jeenbekov and President Atambayev. Parliament then dismissed Prime Minister Sapar Isakov in a vote of confidence, as he was thought to be close to Atambayev. The dismissal of Isakov was a way for Parliament to show its support for Jeenbekov in the sealing power struggle. New Prime Minister became Muchammetkali Abulgazyev, closely associated with Jeenbekov. In his government, many important ministers remained, such as the foreign, home and finance ministers.
The power struggle between Atambayev and Jeenbekov gradually intensified. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support for the incumbent president. In February 2019, eight former high-ranking members of Atambayev’s government, including former Prime Minister Isakov, were brought to trial in Bishkek for corruption and abuse of power. In June of that year, Atambayev was deprived of his indictment by Parliament. He was suspected of corruption, but repeatedly refused to appear for questioning.
Atambayev barricaded himself in his home outside Bishkek and was protected there by devoted followers. In August 2019, the president was arrested by security forces under tumultuous conditions. Later that month, Atambayev was indicted for, among other things, the murder of a policeman, attempts at coups, hostage taking, illegal weapons possession and for having organized riots.
In June 2020, Atambayev was sentenced to just over eleven years in prison for illegally releasing a criminal leader in 2013. The documents that formed the basis of the mafia boss’s reduced sentence later turned out to be forged. Atambayev denied the crime and said he did not know that the documents were false.
The Prime Minister resigns
In June 2020, Prime Minister Abulgazyev resigned as a result of suspected corruption in the communications sector. The corruption suspicions concerned the distribution of radio frequencies and included a leading cable TV company and a large telecom company. Abulgazyev emphasized that he was not heard or suspected by the police but that rumors of his involvement caused the government work to be disturbed. A former head of the government office’s press office and the CEO of the cable TV company have been arrested. New acting prime minister became Kubatbek Boronov, who largely retained the old government.
Read more about the events in the Calendar.
FACTS – POLITICS
Kyrgyz Respublikasy / Kyrgyz Republic
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Sooronbai Jeenbekov (2017–)
Head of government
acting Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov (2020–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Social Democrats 38, Republicans-Fatherland 28, Kyrgyzstan Party 18, Onuguru Progress 13, Unit (Bir Bol) 12, Foster 11 (2015)
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
Fatherland 28, Social Democrats 26, Dignity 25, Republican Party 23, Motherland 18 (2010)
58% in the 2015 parliamentary elections, 56% in the 2017 presidential elections
parliamentary elections, October 4, 2020, presidential elections 2023