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Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov resigns amid election turmoil

Kyrgyzstan was plunged into crisis after October 4 General Elections, which were swept by pro-government parties. The opposition criticised the elections, accusing the government of vote-buying and other irregularities.

Oct 15, 2020 18:20 IST
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Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov stepped down from his position on October 15, 2020 to bring an end to the turmoil that has gripped the nation after the disputed parliamentary elections.

In an official statement, Jeenbekov stated that holding on to power wasn't worth the integrity of the country and agreement in society. He further said that for him, "peace in Kyrgyzstan, the country's integrity, the unity of our people and calm in the society are above all else."

The decision came after intense calls from protestors and political opposition, demanding for Sooronbai Jeenbekov's resignation. 

Kyrgyzstan's Election Turmoil

Kyrgyzstan was plunged into crisis after October 4 General Elections, which were swept by pro-government parties. The opposition criticised the elections, accusing the government of vote-buying and other irregularities.

Following the election results, protestors took over government buildings and looted some offices. 

The Central Election Commission then nullified the election, following which opposition planned to oust Jeenbekov and form a new government.

Hundreds of protestors came together in Kyrgyzstan's capital city, Bishkek to demand for Jeenbekov's resignation. The protests had continued till today morning. 

Jeenbekov had earlier on October 14 dismissed a demand to step down from the country's new prime minister, saying he would stay on the job until the political situation in the Central Asian country stabilises.

The president had insisted that stepping down could trigger “unpredictable developments to the detriment of the state."

The official statement from the President's office had emphasized then that he will only agree to resign after “he takes the country back into the legal field, after holding parliamentary and calling presidential elections.”

State of Emergency 

Jeenbekov had introduced a state of emergency in the capital, Bishkek, which was endorsed by the parliament on October 13. The authorities had deployed troops to Bishkek over the weekend and introduced the curfew. The move eased tensions in the city, where residents feared looting that had accompanied the previous uprisings and began forming vigilante groups to protect property.

Jeenbekov had also supported the appointment of Sadyr Zhaparov, a former lawmaker who was freed from jail by demonstrators last week, as the country’s new prime minister. He endorsed Zhaparov’s new Cabinet.

Jeenbekov said in his statement that the situation in Bishkek remained tense despite the formation of the new Cabinet and he did not want to escalate these tensions.

He said on one side, there were protesters, on the other, the law enforcement and in this case, blood will be shed, it is inevitable. He continued by saying, “I don’t want to go down in history as a president who shot at his own citizens and shed blood.”

Background 

Kyrgyzstan is a country comprising 6.5 million people located on the border with China. The recent turmoil marks the third time in 15 years that demonstrators have moved to oust a government in Kyrgyzstan. Similar uprisings had resulted in the ousting of Presidents in 2005 and 2010. Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest nations to emerge from the former Soviet Union.

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