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President of Kyrgyzstan Resigns. What’s Next?

On October 15, president of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Zheenbekov resigned. This decision was a surprise – just recently the head of state said he would leave office after the new parliamentary election.

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In his message to the Kyrgyzstanis, Sooronbai Zheenbekov said he does not cling to power and does not want to remain in history as the president who “sheds blood and shoots his citizens.” Therefore, he made a decision to leave office.

However, there was no official message about the president’s resignation. 

Let’s grasp the situation together with the lawyer of Precedent law company, Edil Eraliev and political analyst Emil Dzhuraev.

Who’s in place of Sooronbai Zheenbekov? 

UPD 20:30 October 15. Sadyr Zhaparov said that the speaker of parliament Kanat Isaev refused to be acting president. Thus, Prime Minister, i.e. Zhaparov, will serve as the acting head of state. 

According to the law of Kyrgyzstan, the speaker of parliament, i.e. Kanat Isaev, is acting president now.

Now deputies must set a date of early presidential election within a week. The election must take place within three months after the date of termination of Zheenbekov’s powers.

In other words, Kyrgyzstan will hold elections of both the president and the parliament?

Yes, that’s right. Until October 22, parliamentarians must set a date of early presidential election, and the Central Election Commission must set a date of parliamentary election until November 6.

What if the parliament fails to convene and set the date of presidential election?

In this case, early presidential election will be automatically set. The date of election shall be the day following the last date for election appointment. Given the fact that Zheenbekov resigned on October 15, election must take place on January 16.

In this case, CEC shall officially publish the date of early presidential election in the media and arrange preparations and balloting no later than two calendar days after the date when the election was deemed appointed.

Why Zheenbekov decided to resign now? He said he would leave office only after the new parliamentary election?

Based on the text of his message, he does not want confrontations and protests to result in bloodshed. The key factor that contributed to the president’s resignation was the power of the crowd. Supporters of Sadyr Zhaparov are holding protests and have issued an ultimatum demanding Zheenbekov to resign for a few days in the centre of Bishkek and other locations.

The situation in recent days was supposed to force him to leave. When the president signed the decree on October 14 about the appointment of Sadyr Zhaparov as new prime minister, he must have understood that he would resign soon.

Who is ruling the country now?

De jure, the government and parliament headed by the speaker, who will become acting president. In fact, the newly appointed Prime Minister Sadyr Zhaparov is ruling the country. He has managed to concentrate the power and influence and take control of the situation.

The parliament is split both morally and ethically and has no influence it could have had at any other time.

How it appeared that Sadyr Zhaparov became the man who united so many people around him? Why do we have this phenomenon?

It seems to become the question of the century. Zhaparov has really become a fantastic figure in this situation – he has just emerged from jail and become the head of state.

It’s hard to say clearly what affected this abrupt emergence. We have many various factors here, including popularity among people. His status of a prisoner who suffered from injustice plays a big role here. Moreover, he is closer to people compared to other politicians, he is the man who speaks their language. Although, there are many questions about the role of organised criminal groups, political parties and politicians.

Now that Zheenbekov resigned, will protests end?

Unfortunately, they won’t. The protesters now have another demand – dissolution of the parliament of the 6th convocation and the speaker. It will make Prime Minister Sadyr Zhaparov the acting president automatically.

Do you mean that in any case Sadyr Zhaparov will have the power? 

Yes, and given the fact that after demands of president’s resignation protest actions switched to the parliament we can assume that the situation is well arranged and planned. Protesters are not just a crowd of angry supporters of Zhaparov from rural areas. This crowd is motivated, mobilised and directed by certain tactical steps.

However, this situation is risky for Zhaparov. This is politics, yet people care first of food, health, work, etc. In this regard, Kyrgyzstan is in deepest crisis, including due to such commotions.

The country has a budget deficit, coronavirus cases increase, and the capacity to fight it has not been mobilised since summer. We have economic crisis, which is likely to get worse. It is obvious that Sadyr Zhaparov does not have any prepared measures in this regard.

Maybe Sadyr Zhaparov as president is not that bad? At least, protests will end.

In fact, it is not so. This is not about him as a good or bad politician and leader. Individual rule in any state is a hazard rather than new possibilities and something good.

As to protests, they are likely to become less explosive. However, the situation will remain tense until the election and a possible referendum over the constitutional reform, which was mentioned by Sadyr Zhaparov at the conference. So, we are likely to have a few months of busy season ahead.

Why do we need the constitutional reform?

It’s difficult to claim something, but Sadyr Zhaparov and his teammates seem to get Kyrgyzstan back to the presidential regime and also to change the structure of the parliament and elections. And then to run for office.

Is it possible?

According to the law, no amendments may be made to the constitution of Kyrgyzstan during the emergency and military emergency. The country will have the emergency until October 19, and the law does not prohibit to hold a referendum afterwards.

As for the rest, the constitutional reform is as possible now as the situation was possible in recent days. In fact, many impossible things have happened recently.

Main photo: president.kg

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