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Presidential Election, 30 October 2011

Because the 2010 constitutional referendum limited Roza Otunbayeva’s term in office until the end of 2011, Kyrgyzstan held a presidential election on October 30, 2011. Almazbek Atambayev of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan won the first round with 63 percent of the vote, thus avoiding the possibility of a second-round runoff. The 2011 election was democratic and peaceful, but some observers noted areas for improvement. Atambayev’s inauguration on December 1, 2011 marked the first peaceful and democratic transfer of presidential power in Central Asia. With Atambayev vacating the office of prime minister, party factions consulted to organize a new government. A new governing coalition was formed consisting of SDPK, Respublika, Ata-Meken and Ar-Namys. Parliament approved the new government on December 23, 2011, with Omurbek Babanov (leader of the Respublika faction) as the new prime minister.

The election was widely observed with nearly 800 international observers and thousands of local observers, representing domestic NGOs, political parties, and the candidates themselves. Although not widespread, instances of fraud, including ballot stuffing and manipulation of polling station and precinct results, were observed and reported, as were problems with voter lists. For the first time, the country required citizens to register in advance and appear on voter lists in order to cast ballots. Although more than 300,000 people reportedly changed the location of their voter registration, thousands who went to the polls did not find themselves on the final voter list and were not allowed to vote. International and local observation missions noted the problems, but the general consensus was that they did not change the outcome of the election. Atambayev’s two closest competitors, who each received approximately 15 percent of the vote, alleged widespread fraud and challenged the results. Nonetheless, the Central Election Commission certified the results on 12 November 2011.

Local and international observers judged the presidential election in 2011 to have been open and transparent but not without problems and accusations of fraud. Although not widespread, observers reported instances of fraud, including ballot stuffing and manipulation of polling stations and precinct results as well as problems with voter lists, but in general concluded that they did not change the outcome of the election. Local elections in cities and oblasts occurred throughout 2012 and 2013 without serious incident.

The Bishkek Garrison Court sentenced former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev to 24 years in prison on 11 February 2013. Bakiev's brother, Janysh Bakiev, received a life sentence on the same day. The Bakievs were tried in absentia for their alleged roles in a high-profile political assassination. Opposition politician Medet Sadyrkulov and two associates were found dead in a burned-out car near Bishkek in March 2009. In November 2012, five former security officers were sentenced to prison terms for their roles in the killings. Bakiev had been living in Belarus since his ouster.

Though the situation was relatively stable, demonstrations can break out without advance notice. During times of political unrest, demonstrators often gather in front of the Presidential Administration building (White House), the Parliament, and on Alatoo Square in Bishkek’s city center.

Kyrgyzstan's Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party announced 18 March 2014 its withdrawal from the ruling coalition, which meant the government was effectively dissolved. Ata-Meken was part of a ruling coalition formed in September 2012 that included the Social Democratic Party and Ar-Namys (Dignity). The party said Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev had lost the moral right to continue in his post after a criminal boss was prematurely released from prison last year and subsequently fled the country. The party also cited Satybaldiev's inability to resolve the issue of boosting Kyrgyzstan's share in the Kumtor gold-mining project.

A new coalition was formed on 31 March 2014 between the Social-Democrat Party, Ata Meken Party and Ar-Namis Party. The former government was the longest-standing one since the violent uprising in April 2010.

Joomart Otorbaev was elected prime minister 09 April 2014. The swearing-in ceremony of the Cabinet members was attended by President Almazbek Atambayev. A decade earlier, some saw Otorbaev as a successor to then-Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev. Otorbaev rose to become deputy prime minister the last three years that Akaev was president. When Akaev was chased from office by widespread protests in March 2005, Otorbaev left Kyrgyzstan’s political scene. Otorbaev returned to politics after Akaev’s replacement, Kurmanbek Bakiev, was chased from power amid protests in April 2010. He won a seat in parliament in October 2010 as a candidate from the Ata-Meken party. He served as deputy prime minister in charge of the economy and investment from December 2011 until September 2012, when he became first deputy prime minister.



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Page last modified: 26-09-2021 14:23:06 ZULU