You may remember a few months ago Kyrgyzstan went through an abrupt change in government following a popular revolution that overturned the old Bakiyev government. The new government set about establishing a new constitution that shifted Kyrgyzstan's government to have its power more vested in the parliament as oppsoed to the president. Presidential elections were also supposed to be held, but it has been postponed to next year.
The first elections under this system took place yesterday. For the most part, especially considering the issues that happened after the change in government, the elections only had a few minor issues. It has been declared by some observers as being the most "fair" that Central Asia had seen in some time.
The unicameral parliament has 120 seats. The system is set up in such a way that no single party could be able to get a majority by themselves. A 5% threshold is required for a party to qualify for seats. A total of 26 parties fielded candidates, only four made the threshold.
The nationalist Ata-Zhurt (Fatherland) received 8.88%, netting 28 seats. The nationalists take a more hardline stance towards the Uzbek minorities, and have strong support in the south of the country around Osh, where Bakiyev also had support. The party has said they will not bring back Bakiyev.
The Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan received 8.04%, netting 26 seats. The SDPK was the leading force in the change in government, and the interim government was formed by this group.
Ar-Namys (Dignity) received 7.74%, netting 25 seats. This party represents politicians who had initially supported the Bakiyev government. The former Prime Minister during the early parts of the Bakiyev government, Felix Kulov. This party is more aligned to Russia.
Respublika received 7.24%, netting 23 seats. The social democratic Ata-Meken (Fatherland) Socialist Party received 5.60% getting 18 seats.
Kyrgyzstan, mostly in its southern parts, was embroiled in ethnic strife as nationalists in the south got into conflicts with Uzbeks in the border city of Osh. It was accused by the interim government then that these actions were provoked by Bakiyev and his supporters to create instability for the new government. Elections went with out any violence, though the centerpoint of the conflict, Osh, reported the highest turnout, mostly for the pro-Bakiyev Ata-Zhurt party.
Uzbek turn out in Osh was also high, though commentators reported that many were unconfident in any of the major parties to protect them.
On account of the political system being the way it is, a coalition government will have to be formed. The main difference between the parties domestically is their support of the constitutional changes: the SDPK and Ata-Meken support the changes in the constitution while Ata-Zhurt is opposed to the changes. Ar-Namys and Respublika do not take a committed line.
A good piece from Al-Jazeera on the elections:
Heaven's gonna burn your eyes
16th April 2005
The results mean that no party has anything like a mandate - seriously - the largest party won less than 9% of the vote, and barely 0.5% in some areas.
That makes any government outside of a grand coalition will be very difficult, and probably unstable.
However, this is a great success for the Central Asian region, after all the first free and fair elections ever. If there is stability, then the political parties will strengthen and grow to more realistic sizes.
Yeah. The party with plurality still got a small number. Whether or not they can patch together a coalition remains to be seen, but considering the political dynamics of Central Asia this is at least somewhat positive.
I wonder though if any party would be willing to take a stance against the violence that was directed towards the Uzbeks. The nationalists that secured the largest share were suspected of being those who provoked the original riots in Osh. More recently I've read there was an attack against the nationalists' HQ in Bishek in the north by political opponents, though I doubt it was because they were concerned about Uzbeks.
Heaven's gonna burn your eyes
16th April 2005
It is in fact the only fair election Central Asia has ever had.
I would be tempted to predict that a unity government is quite likely to come out of this, with the current interim president staying on. Probably will last a year or two, but I'd think they'd feel that the situation is too unstable for much else.