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Politics of Kyrgyzstan

In the first years of Kyrgyzstan's full independence, President Akayev appeared wholeheartedly committed to the reform process. However, despite the backing of major Western donors, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kyrgyzstan had consequential economic difficulties from the outset. These came mainly as a result of the breakup of the Soviet trading bloc, which impeded the Republic's smooth transfer to a free-market economy.

In 1993, allegations of corruption against Akayev's closest political associates blossomed into a major scandal. One of those accused of improprieties was Vice President Feliks Kulov[?], who resigned for ethical reasons in December. Following Kulov's resignation, Akayev dismissed the government and called upon the last communist premier, Apas Djumagulov, to form a new one. In January 1994, Akayev initiated a referendum asking for a renewed mandate to complete his term of office. He received 96.2% of the vote.

A new Constitution was passed by the Parliament in May 1993. In 1994, however, the Parliament failed to produce a quorum for its last scheduled session prior to the expiration of its term (February 1995). President Akayev was widely accused of having manipulated a boycott by a majority of the parliamentarians. Akayev, in turn, asserted that the communists had caused a political crisis by preventing the legislature from fulfilling its role. Akayev scheduled an October 1994 referendum, overwhelmingly approved by voters, that proposed two amendments to the Constitution, one that would allow the Constitution to be amended by means of a referendum, and the other creating a new bicameral parliament called the Jogorku Kenesh.

Elections for the two legislative chambers--a 35-seat full-time assembly and a 70-seat part-time assembly--were held in February 1995 after campaigns considered remarkably free and open by most international observers, although the election-day proceedings were marred by widespread irregularities. Independent candidates won most of the seats, suggesting that personalities prevailed over ideologies. The new Parliament convened its initial session in March 1995. One of its first orders of business was the approval of the precise constitutional language on the role of the legislature.

Kyrgyzstan's independent political parties competed in the 1996 parliamentary elections. A February 1996 referendum--in violation of the Constitution and the law on referendums--amended the Constitution to give President Akayev more power. It also removed the clause that parliamentarians be directly elected by universal suffrage. Although the changes gave the President the power to dissolve Parliament, it also more clearly defined Parliament's powers. Since that time, Parliament has demonstrated real independence from the executive branch.

An October 1998 referendum approved constitutional changes, including increasing the number of deputies in the upper house, reducing the number of deputies in the lower house, rolling back Parliamentary immunity, reforming land tender rules, and reforming the state budget.

Two rounds of Parliamentary elections were held on February 20, 2000 and March 12, 2000. With the full backing of the United States, the OSCE reported that the elections failed to comply with commitments to free and fair elections and hence were invalid. Questionable judicial proceedings against opposition candidates and parties limited the choice of candidates available to Kyrgyz voters, while state-controlled media reported favorably on official candidates only and government officials put pressure on independent media outlets that favored the opposition. The Kyrgyz Government is being urged to pursue more free, fair, and transparent elections in the future.

Country name:
conventional long form: Kyrgyz Republic
conventional short form: Kyrgyzstan
local long form: Kyrgyz Respublikasy
local short form: none
former: Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: KG

Government type: republic

Capital: Bishkek

Administrative divisions: 6 oblastlar (singular - oblast) and 1 city* (singular - shaar):

Bishkek Shaary*, Chuy[?] Oblasty (Bishkek), Jalal-Abad[?] Oblasty, Naryn[?] Oblasty, Osh[?] Oblasty, Talas[?] Oblasty, Ysyk-Kol[?] Oblasty (Karakol)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Independence: 31 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: National Day, 2 December; Independence Day, 31 August (1991)

Constitution: adopted 5 May 1993
note: amendment proposed by President AKAYEV and passed in a national referendum on 10 February 1996 significantly expands the powers of the president at the expense of the legislature

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Askar AKAYEV (since 28 October 1990)
head of government: Prime Minister Jumabek IBRAIMOV (since NA December 1998)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; elections last held 24 December 1995 (next to be held November or December 2000); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Askar AKAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Askar AKAYEV 75%; note - elections were held early which gave the two opposition candidates little time to campaign; AKAYEV may have orchestrated the "deregistration" of two other candidates, one of whom was a major rival

Legislative branch: bicameral Supreme Council or Zhogorku Kenesh consists of the Assembly of People's Representatives (70 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Legislative Assembly (35 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Assembly of People's Representatives - last held 5 February 1995 (next to be held 20 February 2000); Legislative Assembly - last held 5 February 1995 (next to be held 20 February 2000)
election results: Assembly of People's Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - not all of the 70 seats were filled at the 5 February 1995 elections; as a result, run-off elections were held at later dates; the assembly meets twice yearly; Legislative Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - not all of the 35 seats were filled at the 5 February 1995 elections; as a result, run-off elections were held at later dates
note: the legislature became bicameral for the 5 February 1995 elections

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed for 10-year terms by the Supreme Council on recommendation of the president; Constitutional Court; Higher Court of Arbitration

Political parties and leaders: Agrarian Party [leader NA]; Agrarian Party of Kyrgyzstan [A. ALIYEV]; Banner National Revival Party or ASABA [Chaprashty BAZARBAY]; Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan or PKK [Absamat MASALIYEV, chairman]; Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan or DDK [Jypar JEKSHEYEV, chairman]; Dignity Party [Feliks KULOV]; Fatherland or Alta Mekel Party [Omurbek TEKEBAYEV]; Justice Party [Chingiz AYTMATOV]; Kyrgyzstan Erkin Party (Democratic Movement of Free Kyrgyzstan) or ErK [Tursunbay Bakir UULU]; Movement for the People's Salvation [Djumgalbek AMAMBAYEV]; Mutual Help Movement or Ashar [Zhumagazy USUPOV]; National Unity Democratic Movement or DDNE [Yury RAZGULYAYEV]; Peasant Party [leader NA]; Republican Popular Party of Kyrgyzstan [J. SHARSHENALIYEV]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [J. IBRAMOV]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Council of Free Trade Unions; Kyrgyz Committee on Human Rights [Ramazan DYRYIDAYEV]; National Unity Democratic Movement; Union of Entrepreneurs

International organization participation: AsDB, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO[?], ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP[?], UN, UNAMSIL[?], UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Bakyt ABDRISAYEV
chancery: 1732 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 338-5141
FAX: [1] (202) 338-5139

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anne M. SIGMUND
embassy: 171 Prospect Mira, 720016 Bishkek
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [996] (3312) 22-29-20, 22-27-77
FAX: [996] (3312) 22-35-51

Flag description: red field with a yellow sun in the center having 40 rays representing the 40 Kirghiz tribes; on the reverse side the rays run counterclockwise, on the reverse, clockwise; in the center of the sun is a red ring crossed by two sets of three lines, a stylized representation of the roof of the traditional Kirghiz yurt[?].

See also : Kyrgyzstan



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