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How Presidential Election and Referendum were Held in Kyrgyzstan

According to preliminary data, Sadyr Zhaparov won 79.2 per cent of votes, while 80.99 per cent of voters voted for the presidential government in Kyrgyzstan. 

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It’s the second election in Kyrgyzstan during the coronavirus pandemic. Before the election, CEC and health ministry developed an algorithm of actions to follow for both members of election committees and voters.

The chair of the polling station 1209 of Bishkek, Venera Karataeva, reported that they followed strictly the regime and cleaning guidelines:

«Upon entry, voters are given masks and have to clean their hands with hand sanitizer. The polling station is marked with special red lines to make sure voters keep the distance. A nurse checks body temperature of all voters at the entrance.»

The chair of polling station 1102 in Bishkek, Klara Urkunchueva, said «the voting was held as usual, generally. No failures occurred in equipment. Of course, hygienic norms were observed in full.»

Along with the voting, another peaceful rally for the rule of law took place in the centre of Bishkek. Nearly 50 individuals took part in the rally.

The demonstrators again opposed the amendments to the country’s constitution. Activists believe this could lead to the usurpation of power by one individual.

Peaceful rallies were held in Bishkek every Sunday since November 2020 following the initiative to amend the constitution. The demonstrators followed the traditional route – from the railway station along Erkindik Boulevard to the White House.

The turnout at polling stations throughout Kyrgyzstan was less than 40 per cent. Throughout January 10, the media reported various violations. In total, according to the Central Election Commission, 50 reports were received, but 10 reports were not confirmed.


The deputy head of the CEC, Abdyzhapar Bekmatov, said in a comment to CABAR.asia that among violations were a fact of bribery, non-functioning automatic ballot boxes (ABB) and the fact that some voters could not find their names on the lists.

The majority of the identified shortcomings, in particular in the ABB, were eliminated on the spot. Other materials were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

A resident of Bishkek Emil always takes part in voting and has never missed an election.

«The future of the country is in our hands. Therefore, we must follow our hearts and vote for the future of our children, first of all. I made my choice and really hope that there will be no more rallies in Kyrgyzstan, and we will live in a prosperous civilised state,» he said.

But Bishkek resident Altynbek is not so optimistic, but he came to the polling station anyway.

«I do not envy the future president, as he will have to deal with the country’s problems for more than one year. Therefore, the head of the republic should be a person with a strong character who will be able to change the system and adjust it so that there is no place for corruption,» the young man said.

Passive voting was also held in the south of Kyrgyzstan. At polling station 5555 in Toloikon microdistrict of Osh city, the election process began at 8:00 am. During the first couple of hours, only 20 individuals came to the polling station to vote.


Malfunctions were observed in the performance of ballot boxes. For about half an hour, the ballot box did not work in this station.

«The polling stations are organised at the appropriate level, all sanitary requirements are met. But the most important thing in today’s election is honesty. I came to the presidential election and the referendum to vote for a worthy candidate and a form of government,» Koshbai Isakov said.

«We want to live in peaceful and developed Kyrgyzstan. Today everybody is striving for power. The reason for the October events was also the struggle for power. Therefore, I voted for the presidential form of government. We have seen how the parliamentary form of government works. What has changed? They fought among themselves only to come to power. We need a president who will take care of the common people,» Ainagul Matikeyeva, a resident of Osh, said.

«I am against the presidential rule. We need a parliamentary form. I believe that only one individual will have power under the presidential government,» Zharkyn Akysheva said.

«The president must come to power with his own programme and, first of all, ensure peace and stability, stop corruption. This is what we expect from the new president. We know well it won’t be easy, but the president elected by the people must be fair and work for the good of the state and the people,» Abdymital Omuraliev said.

There were 217 polling stations in Batken region, but activity there was low. Polling station 8177 in the town of Batken registered 2,031 voters, but less than a quarter of voters had voted by the afternoon.

«The election is being held properly. By 13:00, 338 people voted. Probably, the low voter turnout is because the election is held in cold winter season,» the head of the polling station Zhypar Saparova said.

«I came to the polling station and voted for the candidate I chose. As for the referendum, I prefer the presidential form of government. Election is being held in accordance with the requirements, voters are being checked by a nurse,» a resident of Batken, Satybaldy Altymyshov, said.

In Issyk-Kul region, voters were passive. There were no long queues at polling stations as during the previous parliamentary election. The most active voters were in Issyk-Kul, Ak-Suu and Dzheti-Oguz districts.

The press service of the interior affairs department of Issyk-Kul region reported that voting was held without any public order offences and two reports about violations of the election process were registered.

The department of interior affairs of Balykchy received a phone message from a 66-year-old local resident who was treated in the observatory unit of the city hospital and could not vote because the polling station commission failed to come to him.

Also, the department of interior affairs of Ton district registered a report that an unknown person was taking pictures of the election process near an electronic ballot box at the polling station of Tort-Kul village.

«Kyrgyzstan needs a president who will think about Kyrgyzstan. We need a presidential government, as we already had the parliamentary one and saw no results. All we saw were scandals,» a resident of Karakol, Gulzat Duishekeyeva, said.

«I am for the parliamentarianism. The parliamentary government is a right choice and the future of our country,» Elmira Sulaimanova said.

On October 15, 2020, President Sooronbai Zheenbekov announced his resignation. The reason for his step were the results of the parliamentary election held on October 4. The pro-government parties accused of bribing the citizens won the election. The Kyrgyzstanis who disagreed with the results took part in the rallies, which finally developed into mass disorders. On October 6, the protesters seized the building of the White House.

Under the pressure of rally participants, a few politicians including Sadyr Zhaparov, who later on became the acting prime minister, were released from prison.  Amid the rallies, the CEC of Kyrgyzstan cancelled the results of the parliamentary election, while Sooronbai Zheenbekov who was trying to retain the power resigned. He had served only half of his term.

To make the situation legal, the members of parliament elected the new cabinet of ministers headed by Sadyr Zhaparov. After he became the official presidential candidate, Talant Mamytov became the acting head of state.

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