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What is Happening and Who Rules the Country? Let’s Explain the Situation in Kyrgyzstan

Self-appointed heads appear in ministries and agencies of Kyrgyzstan, and the number of candidates running for prime minister in place of resigned Kubatbek Boronov is growing.

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Bishkek still has protesters in the central square, near the government building, and in other parts of the city. Unstable situation in the country continues for the fifth day after the election of the 7th convocation of the parliament, which was declared void. 

Let’s figure out what is happening in Kyrgyzstan.

Who rules the country now?

So far, president and former, 6th convocation of the parliament, which is still valid, are legitimate leaders of Kyrgyzstan. 

Is the president still in Kyrgyzstan?

According to the statements made by the presidential press secretary Tolgonai Stamalieva, Sooronbai Zheenbekov is in Bishkek. On October 8, he held a phone talk with new speaker of parliament Myktybek Abdyldaev, whose legitimacy is doubtful as deputies violated the constitutional norms when they elected him.

Last time the president was seen in public was on October 5 during the meeting with the head of the ODIHR election observation mission. Nevertheless, the presidential press service publishes his messages to the Kyrgyzstanis regularly.

Everyone is talking about impeachment to president. What is it and what for?

Impeachment is a process of expressing distrust to president and his/her further removal from office.

According to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan, only the parliament may initiate impeachment to Sooronbai Zheenbekov based on a criminal charge supported by the opinion of the prosecutor general. To this end, at least one third of the total number of deputies, i.e. at least 40 people, must sign a written representation.  In the evening of October 7, a part of deputies of the 6th convocation gathered for a session and started to collect signatures. However, they failed to gather the sufficient number of signatures.

Even if the required number of signatures is available, the decision on removal of president from office should be supported at least by two-thirds or 60 deputies no later than within three months after the charge was brought. If no decision is made within this time, the charge will be deemed dismissed.

However, on October 9, the presidential press service published a message, which said that Zheenbekov was ready to leave office after “legitimate heads of executive authorities are approved and the country returns to the path of legitimacy”.

What about the government? Is Sadyr Zhaparov a new prime minister?

UPD: On October 10, MPs voted for Sadyr Japarov to become acting Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan. However, there are doubts about the presence of a quorum at the session of deputies and the legitimacy of such a decision.

No, ex-deputy Sadyr Zhaparov freed by protesters from the colony in the morning of October 6 is just a candidate for the head of the Cabinet of Ministers. He was nominated by the coalition of the majority in the parliament. However, the extraordinary session of deputies did not have a quorum, so the legality of this decision is doubtful.

Besides, there are questions about the criminal record of Zhaparov, which was allegedly removed, and questions about the compliance with procedures and time. According to the law “On the government of the Kyrgyz Republic”, prime minister may not be a person with criminal record that is not removed or cancelled as required by law (article 8, paragraph 1).

Moreover, there are other candidates running for the post of prime minister:

Omurbek Babanov nominated by Respublika party.

Also, the Union of Banks of Kyrgyzstan proposed the candidature of Erkin Asrandiev, current vice prime minister of the government.

Representatives of business associations nominated Askar Sydykov, an executive director of International Business Council.

However, according to lawyer of legal company Precedent Edil Eraliev, various associations may propose candidates, but the law of the country has it that the right to nominate a candidate for prime minister is vested upon, in consecutive order: 

  1. factions that have over a half of deputy mandates, or coalition of factions with its participation;
  2. coalition of factions that form the parliamentary majority.

The 6th convocation of the parliament has no faction that have over a half of mandates, but it does have the majority coalition.  Therefore, only deputies may appoint and approve the candidature of prime minister.

The law does not prescribe any other order of approval of the head of government. Even if Kyrgyzstan did not have the majority coalition and factions with over a half of mandates, the president would ask factions to nominate a prime minister by law.

Earlier, the country was never in such a situation and the law does not have other procedures for nomination and approval of the head of the cabinet of ministers.

So far, according to the law, after the resignation of prime minister and prior to the election of a new head of the cabinet of ministers, the new head of the cabinet of ministers shall be acting first vice minister. This is Almazbek Baatyrbekov. But according to the message of the press service of the government, vice prime minister Erkin Asrandiev is in charge of social and economic issues.

What is a coordination council?

In the law of Kyrgyzstan, there is no such authority as the Coordination Council, so it has no powers to make state decisions. 

Self-appointed acting ministers and heads of agencies – are they valid?

No, they are not. According to the law, prime minister appoints ministers, heads of agencies, and submits their candidatures to the parliament. As to municipal and administrative posts, they have their own procedures of appointment of directors.

Thus, all self-appointed heads of ministries and agencies are illegal.

What about the release of Almazbek Atambaev, Sadyr Zhaparov and others? Is it legal?

No. Only the court can make decisions about release and change of measure of restraint. Not after the event as happened on October 6. At first, the court must make a decision on release, and then it should be enforced. 

Everyone’s talking about lustration. What is it and what for?

Lustration is the removal from power and ban on holding public offices for persons who were caught in criminal or antinational activities during their work at civil service during the regime removed from power.

This is not the first time that Kyrgyzstan talks about lustration. Similar initiatives were initiated after the April 2010 events. Back then, they said about not letting people who discredited themselves during the ruling of ex-presidents Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiev into state policy.

However, this idea was not supported much. It was also because there was fear of abusive exercise of power under the disguise of lustration.

Now some politicians, activists and protesters speak again of adoption of lustration law. However, lustration criteria and a relevant draft law must be developed first.

What about the election? When will new election take place?

On October 6, the Central Election Commission declared the results of the parliamentary election invalid.

According to the law “On elections of President of the Kyrgyz Republic and deputies of Zhogorku Kenesh”, the CEC should schedule repeat election within one month. 

What about the world community? Can they do anything to help handle the situation?

International organisations and heads of states say they monitor the events in the country and urge all to act within law. On October 6, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reported that the organisation is willing to act as mediator to settle the situation in Kyrgyzstan.

In this situation, the only thing they can do is to provide forum for negotiations, provide guarantees of compliance with public law, and mediation. Kyrgyzstan is a sovereign state and no one may intervene into its local affairs.

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