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Kyrgyzstan Politics

State and politics

GOVERNMENT

Kyrgyzstan declared its independence in August 1991. The Constitution of May 1993 strengthened the president's position. After being revised a few times, the country got its current constitution after a referendum on June 27, 2010. The 2010 constitution limits the president's power and before parliamentary rule.

Political System of Kyrgyzstan

In 2017, a number of amendments were introduced to the constitution. The amendments, which were supported by a controversial referendum on December 11, 2016, strengthen the Prime Minister's position, limit the judiciary and give increased powers to the security agencies.

Parliament, Jogorku Kenesh, has a chamber of 120 seats which is added for five years at a time. No party can have more than 65 seats. The President, whose power has been reduced, is elected for six years and cannot stand for another term. The head of state, however, still has the right to veto and appoint senior executives.

Policy

As in many other former Soviet republics, economic interest groups, some 15 so-called clans, have a great influence in politics. In addition, unlike other Central Asian states, Kyrgyzstan has maintained the tradition of tribes, so-called tapes, and politicians have their basis in regional tapes rather than in political parties. There is a tension between clans in the north and the Fergana Valley in southern Kyrgyzstan. See AbbreviationFinder for how KG can stand for Kyrgyzstan.

The widespread corruption in Kyrgyzstan prevents the establishment of well-functioning state structures, counteracts equitable distribution of society's resources and slows down the country's democratization.

Prior to the 2005 parliamentary elections, Akajev banned the use of public premises for election meetings. This was followed by demonstrations in especially southern Kyrgyzstan and by extensive looting also in Bishkek. Due to the passivity of the police, Akajev felt compelled to flee. On April 4 of the same year, he signed a formal document on his departure at the Kyrgyzstan Embassy in Moscow.

Kurmanbek Bakijev, who was forced to resign from the post of Prime Minister after the 2002 Aksy massacre, was appointed Kurmanbek Bakijev. In April 2010, Bakiyev fled from Bishkek under similar circumstances and took refuge in Belarus. A self-proclaimed provisional government made up of well-known opposition politicians, together with international expertise, drafted a new constitution which was adopted by a referendum in June of the same year. The new constitution limited the president's power and introduced parliamentary rule.

People from Bakijev's immediate and criminal circles were identified as responsible for the provocations that led to pogroms on both the Uzbek and Kyrgyz in the southern cities of Osh and Dzjalal-Abad in the weeks before the referendum. According to official data, at least 300 people were killed.

Since 2010, the country has been ruled by coalition governments, which have been predominantly led by the Kyrgyz Socialist Party. The party became second largest in the parliamentary elections on October 10, 2010. In the October 4, 2015 election, the Social Democratic Party became the largest party (27.5 percent).

In the October 30, 2011 presidential election, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev (born 1956), nominated by the Socialist Party, received 63 percent of the vote in the first round. In the subsequent presidential election on October 15, 2017, Social Democrat Sooronbay Jeenbekov received 55 percent of the vote, which was enough to preclude a second round of elections.

On December 11, 2016, a referendum was held that supported changes in the constitution in favor of the Prime Minister. In April 2018, Prime Minister Sapar Isakov (born 1977) lost a parliamentary vote in Parliament and was forced to resign. Muchammedkalyj Abylgaziev was appointed new Prime Minister.

All parliamentary and presidential elections since 2010 have been generally considered free by international election observers, although significant irregularities have also been pointed out. At the 2017 presidential election, Sooronbaj Jeenbekov received support from incumbent President Atambayev, creating suspicion of abuse of so-called administrative resources.

During his time as President, Almazbek Atambayev succeeded in dampening the Uzbek-war conflict potential and balancing the conflicts between the South and the North, which contributed to the departure of the predecessors Kurmanbek Bakijev and Askar Akajev in 2010 and 2005 respectively.

In addition to these still unsolved problems, Sooronbaj Jeenbekov, who was prime minister under Atambayev and politically close to him, has faced a number of other major challenges in succession: including widespread corruption, a generally weakened economy, growing poverty and organized crime.

The country has been a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) since December 1991, including the Collective Security Agreement (May 1992) and since 2000 the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc) customs cooperation. In 2014, Kyrgyzstan joined the Russian-led Euro-Asian Union (EEU). Kyrgyzstan has been a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace since 1994 and joined the WTO in 1999. Kyrgyzstan also belongs to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) regional cooperation organization since 1996.

Judiciary

Despite independence, Kyrgyzstan continues to use the laws of the Soviet era in the absence of other alternatives. Legal reforms in the market economy direction are partly being implemented. The death penalty was abolished in 2007 for serious crimes committed during peacetime but can still be sentenced under war or warlike conditions. The most recent execution took place in 1998.

Human Rights

Compared to the other countries in Central Asia, civil society in Kyrgyzstan is relatively strong. Several local human rights organizations are active and are largely allowed to carry out their work of monitoring and reporting without government involvement. The government has great influence over the media, but the country has the strongest freedom of the press among the Central Asian countries. According to Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Kyrgyzstan has since climbed from position 159 to place 88 in 2015.

Shortcomings in respect of human rights exist and torture is a common occurrence, which violates civil and political rights despite the fact that the authorities have adopted new legislation to prevent this. Violence and discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people occurs and perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.

The situation of women in Kyrgyzstan is difficult in many ways. Domestic abuse is a growing problem, even though the law prohibits domestic abuse. In addition, women's representation in work life and management is low compared to men's. The Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex, but the government has not taken adequate measures to prevent such discrimination from taking place. Bridal purchases and grooms are still in the countryside. Also trafficking in women is a serious and growing problem as Kyrgyzstan acts as a country of origin and transit for human trafficking in particular, and there is no law that explicitly prohibits business.

The government has adopted special programs to improve children's conditions and to disseminate information about their rights, but resources are insufficient and the UN Children's Fund UNICEF estimates that there are thousands of street children in the capital Bishkek alone

Arbitrary detention occurs regularly in Kyrgyzstan as a way for the police to bribe themselves. According to the law, a decision by a prosecutor is required before arrest can be made, but it is not always followed. Police and security agencies have also increased their surveillance of the Uzbek minority in Kyrgyzstan's part of the Ferghana Valley, which has been motivated by being part of the fight against terrorism.

Religious freedom is provided for in the Constitution and is generally respected, but all religious groups must be registered and some Christian communities have encountered problems in this procedure. However, this does not apply to established Christian communities such as the Orthodox or the Catholic Church.

Kyrgyzstan has joined all eight of the International Labor Organization's (ILO) central conventions on freedom of association and negotiation, non-discrimination in working life, the ban on forced labor and the ban on child labor.

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