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After his election as Kyrgyzstan’s president in October 2017, Sooronbai Jeenbekov inherited an economically uncertain state, which has failed to address more than twenty years of misrule despite emerging from two episodes of upheaval. Central Asia’s only nominal parliamentary democracy, Kyrgyzstan is divided along ethnic and regional lines, deeply corrupt and facing religious radicalisation in absence of a strong state. Crisis Group monitors ethnic and political tensions as well as wider regional relations.

CrisisWatch Kyrgyzstan

Unchanged Situation

Ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) candidate Sooronbai Jeenbekov won 15 Oct presidential election with a count of 54.22% of vote, beating opposition candidate Omurbek Babanov with 33.49%; OSCE said election valid but noted numerous violations. Weeks leading up to elections marred by arrests and allegations of intimidation, abuses and vote buying. President Atambayev claimed foreign state was interfering in elections, while Babanov was accused of stoking ethnic tensions in Osh; National Security Committee (GKNB) investigating. At 16 Oct press conference, Babanov said he would stay in Kyrgyz politics and not flee the country. Up to 1,000 people protested in Babanov’s hometown Talas demanding fresh elections. OSCE election observers 16 Oct noted “generally positive example” although “cases of the misuse of public resources, pressure on voters and vote buying remain a concern”. Amid ongoing bilateral tensions, govt 20 Oct cancelled $100m aid from Kazakhstan; deputy PM said it “will look for funding in other places”.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Oct 2017
If mishandled, [Kyrgyzstan's] election could shatter [the country's] facade of democracy. A fragile stability is at stake. AFP

Deirdre Tynan

Project Director, Central Asia

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