Central Asian country gets a new president . . .
Kyrgyzstan has shaken up its political leadership after two weeks of rival opposition factions protesting alleged mass vote-buying during parliamentary elections. On October 7, mobs forced Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov to resign and then called for the impeachment of President Sooronbai Jeenbeko. Jeenbeko was unsuccessful in quelling the protesters, and rather than cling to power, chose to resign on Thursday. Sadyr Japarov, a member of the political opposition, was appointed as interim Prime Minister and promptly stepped in to also serve as acting president. Japarov had been serving a jail term on kidnapping charges and was released during the protests. This marks the third ousting of a president since Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Caught between Russia and China . . .
Pundits often point to Kyrgyzstan’s recent revolutions as a sign that its democracy has progressed much further than that of its former Soviet-bloc neighbours. But the widespread political unrest since October 4 is being called the most violent and disruptive since independence. It poses threats to regional stability, including for China and Russia, both of which vie for influence in the country. Prime Minister and acting President Japarov told Al Jazeera that the protests have been relatively peaceful compared to the past two revolutions and that he respects the movement as advancing democracy and peace and decreasing political corruption.
Swift return to governing . . .
Japarov says that in the coming years, he plans to focus on corruption, supporting the return of the two million Kyrgyz labourers working outside the country, and sustainable rural economic development. He also says he is drafting amendments to the constitution to open up the debate over whether a presidential or parliamentary republic would best reflect the people's wishes, stating that, “We need to change our vision, our mentality, and our political culture.” How this translates into practice in the country will be a sign of things to come.