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Kyrgyzstan after the parliamentary elections

The situation after the parliamentary elections in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has become even more complicated. The election commission is apparently considering at least a partial recount.

Election results are a blow to Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva

Election results are a blow to Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva

So far, five parties have secured seats in parliament by winning at least 5 percent of the votes. But a sixth party, Butun Kyrgyzstan, which according to the official results stood at 4.8 percent, protested that it had also crossed the 5 percent threshold. The recount, which according to some reports will take place over the next two days, might now confirm this and complicate the arithmetics of possible coalitions.

Fractured mandate with a surprise

The elections threw up a highly fractured mandate, with more than 60 percent of the electorate voting for the 24 parties that did not win any seats. None of the parties in parliament won more than 9 percent of the popular vote.

The elections threw up a highly fractured mandate

The elections threw up a highly fractured mandate

In a surprise development, the Ata Zhurt party, which is considered close to former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, emerged as the strongest party. Bakiyev was overthrown in a popular revolt six months ago and is living in exile. Beate Eschment, an expert on the region at the University of Bremen, sees the vote as a slap in the face for the interim government of President Roza Otunbayeva:

"I think much of it is due to the incredibly bad performance by the members of the interim government. This was basically a protest election, with voters casting their ballot against the interim government which had ended up totally paralyzing itself."

The Russian connection

The two governing parties, Otunbayeva's Social Democrats and another reformist party, Ata Meken, supported the transition to a parliamentary system in Kyrgyzstan. This was strongly opposed by Russia. Viola von Cramon, a German Member of Parliament who has been observing the situation in Kyrgyzstan closely, says:

Ar-Namys party leader Felix Kulov

Ar-Namys party leader Felix Kulov

"I'd say we've definitely underestimated Moscow's influence. At the end of August, the polls clearly indicated that Tekebayev's Ata Meken and the Social Democrats were far ahead. They had expected a better result. But there was a media campaign targeting those politicians who stood for a parliamentary democracy, and Russian media and the Russian government were responsible for it."

Russian TV is widely watched in Kyrgyzstan. A government formed by Ata Zhurt with the Ar-Namys party of the pro-Russian former Prime Minister Felix Kulov is believed to be more acceptable to Moscow.

The arithmetics of kingmaking

Michael Laubsch

Michael Laubsch

But whether there is a recount or not, at least three parties will have to come together to form a coalition government. Michael Laubsch, head of the EurAsian Transition Group in Bonn, explains:

"When you look at the figures, there seem to be different options. I think it will mainly depend on what the Respublika party of millionaire Babanov is going to do. Because it won't be enough if the Bakiyev supporters of Ata Zhurt and Kulov's Ar-Namys join hands, nor will the Social Democrats have a majority together with Ata Meken. So Babanov is probably going to be the kingmaker."

Oil magnate Omurbek Babanov's Respublika party is new and without a clear profile, so it is a tough call whom he will join.

Author: Thomas Baerthlein
Editor: Arun Chowdhury

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