Kyrgyzstan: President rejects parliament’s decision on new prime minister

BISHKEK  — Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has rejected a decision by a group of lawmakers to appoint Sadyr Japarov, a convicted kidnapper released from prison last week in the wake of mass protests that ousted the government, to the post of prime minister, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Jeenbekov’s office said he rejected the nomination because of the lack of a quorum at the session of a group of lawmakers at which the decision was made after thousands poured into the streets on October 5, throwing the country into chaos over contested parliamentary elections.

He asked parliament to vote again on a new prime minister after he met Japarov and told him he would not approve his appointment, the statement said.

The move came shortly after Dmitry Kozak, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff, visited Kyrgyzstan for talks aimed at resolving the current political crisis.

The visit was Moscow’s first visible intervention in the crisis.

The Russian Embassy said on October 13 that the “key role of the head of state” in ensuring Kyrgyzstan’s future development was emphasized in Kozak’s meeting with Jeenbekov.

Members of parliament and other political activists have questioned the legitimacy of the rump parliament session that selected Japarov, which at the time looked like the latest twist in a sometimes violent power struggle in the aftermath of the elections.

Meanwhile, lawmakers late on October 13 elected Kanatbek Isaev as the new speaker of parliament.

In the wake of protests, then-parliament speaker Dastan Jumabekov resigned and a group of lawmakers named Myktybek Abdyldaev as the new parliament chairman.

But Abdyldaev resigned from the post on October 10 amid statements by some political parties and lawmakers questioning the legitimacy of his appointment.

The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek voiced support for Jeenbekov’s move in a statement issued on October 13 and warned about the threat that organized crime poses to Kyrgyz democracy.

“The United States supports the efforts of President Jeenbekov, political leaders, civil society, and legal scholars to return the political life of the country to a constitutional order,” the statement said, adding, “It is clear that one of the obstacles towards democratic progress is the attempt by organized crime groups to exert influence over politics and elections.”

It said that the impact of organized crime “was evident with vote-buying during the October 4 elections, violence and intimidation in Ala-Too Square on October 9, and irregularities in the parliament session on October 10.”