Acting leader of crisis-hit Kyrgyzstan to run for president

Kyrgyzstan is the most pluralist among the Central Asian states that became independent with the collapse of the Soviet Union. — Twitter/GRAFECRISTO via Reuters
Kyrgyzstan is the most pluralist among the Central Asian states that became independent with the collapse of the Soviet Union. — Twitter/GRAFECRISTO via Reuters

BISHKEK, Oct 26 — Kyrgyzstan’s acting leader Sadyr Japarov said today that he will stand in a presidential election called after weeks of political turmoil in the Central Asian nation.

Japarov, a populist politician and convicted kidnapper, became prime minister and acting president during unrest that swept the ex-Soviet country following a disputed parliamentary vote in early October.

The Central Election Commission announced on Saturday that it had set a new presidential vote for January 10.

“I will step down in early December and participate in the election,” Japarov said in a statement.

“I will participate in the elections as an ordinary citizen. If I am elected, I will be president. If not—I will remain an ordinary citizen,” Japarov said.

The 51-year-old had been serving a prison sentence for hostage-taking and was released from jail during violence that erupted after the October 4 vote.

Election results were cancelled after a protest led by losing parties against vote-buying and other violations escalated into clashes pitting protesters against police.

Then-president Sooronbay Jeenbekov resigned from his post amid the unrest, leaving power in the hands of Japarov who promised new parliamentary and presidential elections.

A parliamentary vote was set for December 20 but then cancelled, as Japarov called for constitutional changes and the disbanding of the elections commission.

Kyrgyzstan is the most pluralist among the Central Asian states that became independent with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it is also the most politically unstable.

Jeenbekov became the third president to resign since the country, which had also witnessed two revolutions, gained independence in 1991. — AFP

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