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Kyrgyzstan annuls election after protests

October 6, 2020

The Central Election Commission said it made the decision to "avoid tension" in the country. Protesters stormed the capital on Monday after the results were announced, even gaining entry to Bishkek's White House.

A demonstrator wearing the national flag gestures during a protest against the results of a parliamentary election in Bishkek
Image: Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters

Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission has declared the results of the weekend's parliamentary election invalid, following mass overnight protests in the capital, Bishkek, and other cities.

The decision was made in order to "avoid tension" in the country, the head of the Commission Nurzhan Shaildabekova told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

Opposition supporters stormed government buildings overnight, including the White House, home to parliament and the presidential administration. They demanded a new election after parties close to pro-Russian President Sooronbai Jeenbekov swept Sunday's vote, according to the official results.

Hundreds were injured and one person was killed during violent clashes with police, who used tear gas, grenades and water cannons to disperse protesters. 

Moscow's embassy in Bishkek has called for a "legal solution" to the crisis. "Ensuring the safety of citizens, internal stability should be a priority," a spokesperson said Tuesday.

'Return to the rule of law'

Opposition politicians, including a former prime minister and several party leaders, said they had formed a "coordination council" to restore stability and "return to the rule of law."

The council issued a statement criticizing Jeenbekov for failing to honor a promise to provide equal conditions for the parties competing in the vote. 

Jeenbekov's office has insisted the situation in the country is under his control, while the president has accused "several political forces" of attempting to seize power.


Jeenbekov said he had "suggested that the central Election Commission carefully investigate the violations and, if necessary, annul the election results."

Protesters also released two former prime ministers, two former lawmakers and ex-president Almazbek Atambayev from jail, local media reported. 

Atambayev, who served as president from 2011 to 2017, was taken into custody last year on corruption allegations that surfaced amid a personal conflict with his successor, Jeenbekov. The two were once close, but the pair fell out shortly after Atambayev won the 2017 presidential election. 

Read moreKyrgyzstan's former president arrested at the second attempt 

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which had independently monitored the voting, said there were reported irregularities, including "credible allegations of vote-buying."

Kyrgyzstan has a history of popular uprisings and political turmoil, with two presidents ousted in revolutions in 2005 and 2010. After a decade of relative stability, people have raised concerns over rampant corruption and domination by certain powerful clans.

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lc/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)