Multiple parliaments meet in Kyrgyzstan, legitimacy uncertain

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

File photo of Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan Source: Hunne

Although the Supreme Court reportedly annulled recent election results on March 24, two rival parliaments have been meeting in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. The Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan voted to endorse the legitimacy of the newly elected and protested parliament on Saturday.

Both a pre-election chamber, comprising of an upper and lower house, and a post-election chamber, comprising of single house, met in separate rooms of the parliament building on Saturday. MPs from both parliaments are set to meet and debate how to proceed. Among solutions proposed are keeping both parliaments functioning until the next election.

"Our opinion is that we should be the legitimate lawmakers because the people have chosen us," said Roman Shin, who was elected to the new parliament. He said the MPs of the former parliament, which were meeting once again, "don't want to abandon power."

"The revolution was made by [only] 5,000 people," he said, and added that he and his allies could organize at least five times as many.

"It all happen so fast, we don't even know if we can call it a revolution," Felix Kulov, newly appointed head of security ministries, told UPI. "We still haven't figured out what happened. People just ran into the White House and the president fled the country. It was not planned. It was not a revolution. But now we have to take control somehow."

Protesters meet with Bakiyev

Hundreds of protesters rushed into the Kyrgyz parliament demanding a meeting with acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on Saturday, according to a RIA Novosti correspondent.

They demanded that the newly elected parliament be declared illegitimate. Bakiyev promised that he'd settle the matter within two weeks, and the protesters were reportedly not satisfied by his assurances.

Eight of ten members of the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan voted to acknowledge the protested results of the last election as legitimate. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court declared the election results annulled.

"The decision of the Supreme Court is illegal as it was made under pressure of the crowd. After the announcement of the registration results the Central Election Commission can hold a session, for instance, tomorrow," a newly elected MP, Alisher Sabirov, told RIA Novosti.

On Saturday the upper house of the former parliament said it would preserve its authorities before the June 26 presidential elections and did not acknowledge the new parliament.

Leaders of key political structures signed a compromise memorandum on the March 25. The memorandum states that the former parliament will continue to serve until April 14. After that, the new parliament will take over.

However, quite a few MPs are doubting the legitimacy of the March 25 memorandum. They are demanding that the former, two-house parliament's tenure be extended. The more radical MPs are demanding that the new parliament, or "imposters," must leave the parliament building. They contend that the memorandum must be revised.

The lower house of parliament is also rumored to be discussing the possibility of declaring a state of emergency, behind closed doors.

Bakiyev appoints new ministers

The flag of Kyrgyzstan Source: SKopp

Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was elected both acting president and prime minister, also appointed new ministers on Friday. Among the newly-appointed ministers are Myktybek Abdyldayev, former chief prosecutor who had been fired by deposed president Askar Akayev on Wednesday, as interior minister, Felix Kulov as minister of security, and Rosa Otunbayeva as minister of foreign affairs.

The ministers were appointed as acting ministers and thus did not need the approval of the upper house of parliament.

The former parliament also scheduled Kyrgyz presidential elections for June 26. This announcement was met by MPs with applause.

"I think I should run in the presidential elections. God willing, I will," Bakiyev said.

Adding to the uncertainty, deposed president Askar Akayev has said that he has not resigned and intends to return to the country. However, Bakiyev and Kulov both said that there were no grounds for impeaching or persecuting Akayev.

"The vote of no confidence takes place in case of high treason or after initiation of criminal proceedings. So far, we have no evidence of either," Kulov said in an interview on national television.

"I have no intention of persecuting Askar Akayev. He has done much for democracy and building a sovereign Kyrgyzstan," Bakiyev told reporters.

Bakiyev reportedly met with the U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and discussed the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the telephone. Putin reportedly offered the county Russia's help.

Bakiyev appealed to the staff of deposed President Akayev and Prime Minister Tanayev's offices to report back to work. "We must re-establish order in the White House," Bakiyev said.


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