Kyrgyzstan appoints new prime minister, former president imprisoned again | NOW

Kyrgyz parliamentarians on Saturday elected Sadyr Zhaparov as the new prime minister. While the vote on the new prime minister was underway, special forces stormed the building where Almazbek Atambayev was staying and detained the former president.

Zhaparov himself was recently detained for involvement in the hostage-taking of a government official. He was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. The new prime minister denies being guilty and says he is the victim of a political trial.

Supporters of Zhaparov ended the prison sentence early by freeing the man from his cell during the recent riots.

According to Zhaparov, current pro-Russian President Sooronbay Jeenbekov has reassured him his willingness to resign after a new government is formed.

Concern about fraud during parliamentary elections

In the Central Asian country great unrest arose after the parliamentary elections on October 4. Only four of the sixteen participating parties reached the 7 percent electoral threshold: three of these parties have close ties with Jeenbekov.

Government opponents complained of fraud and protesters stormed government buildings. They also freed former president Atambayev, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for corruption. According to his supporters, it is a political process. However, the liberation was short-lived: Atambayev was again detained on Saturday.

Due to the demonstrations and riots, the Kyrgyz Electoral Council on Tuesday declared the result of the parliamentary elections null and void. That same day, the now ex-Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov decided to stop following that decision.

Kyrgyzstan has been politically unstable for years

Kyrgyzstan, with a population of 6.5 million, has a turbulent recent political history: in the past 15 years, two presidents have been impeached and former president Atambayev was jailed after arguing with his successor.

The political instability in the country is a cause for concern for Russia. It has an air base in the former Soviet republic. Moscow is already dealing with crises with two other allies: Belarus and Armenia.


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