protesters release ex-President Atambayev, parliamentary elections canceled

In Bishkek, during demonstrations against electoral fraud, Tuesday October 6.

Already shaken by two revolutions in less than fifteen years, Kyrgyzstan is once again plunging into political crisis. In the aftermath of controversial legislative elections, a crowd of protesters stormed the seat of power in the capital Bishkek early Tuesday, October 6, and then freed former President Almazbek Atambayev. Protesters demand new elections and the resignation of the current head of state. In this small poor country of six million inhabitants, an island of political pluralism in the heart of Central Asia, a Muslim country torn by tensions between north and south, these disturbances against a backdrop of “war of presidents” could awaken ethnic divisions. between clans.

After the post-election riots that left one dead, the Central Election Commission announced on Tuesday that it had canceled the results of Sunday’s ballot, won by pro-presidential parties. “The results of the legislative elections which took place on October 4, 2020 have been declared invalid”, the commission said in a statement posted on its official website.

The former head of state Almazbek Atambaïev (originally from the north), arrested last year and sentenced in June to eleven years in detention for having released one of the heads of organized crime, is now at large, acclaimed by his support when leaving his cell. A surprising release, swift and smooth: Singing the national anthem, the protesters picked him up from the National Security Committee building, where the guards reportedly put up no resistance. From his residence, Sooronbay Jeenbekov (from the south), successor and ex-protégé of Almazbek Atambayev, assured Tuesday morning that he would stay at the “Country control”. But the current president, who led the judicial offensive against his predecessor last year, has been challenged like never before since taking office in 2017.

Read also Former President of Kyrgyzstan arrested after new assault by special forces

Pro-Jeenbekov parties are accused of using fraud to win the legislative elections on Sunday (October 4th). Some 500,000 voters, out of a total of 3.5 million, suspiciously changed their polling location before the election, according to the electoral commission. Ballots were found pre-checked and witnesses said they had received money or a bag of coal in exchange for their vote. This electoral corruption is all the more massive as the coronavirus epidemic has worsened the poverty of the population.

Geopolitical influences

Denouncing these maneuvers, the demonstrators met on Monday in the center of Bishkek, on Ala-Too Square, which, near the presidency, had been the heart of the revolutions of 2005 and 2010 to overthrow two authoritarian presidents. At the cry of “Jeenbekov out! “, this rally of some 5,000 people was organized by five of the parties that failed to meet the 7% threshold required to enter parliament. To disperse the protest, as some rebels attempted to climb the presidential gates, police responded with stun grenades and tear gas. Result: at least 120 demonstrators hospitalized. In order to ease tensions, Sooronbay Jeenbekov is due to meet with the leaders of the 16 parties that took part in the elections on Tuesday.

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