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April 09, 2010

Kyrgyzstan 'Interim' Leaders Promise to Re-Establish Parliamentary System of Government

The self-proclaimed interim leaders of Kyrgyzstan are promising to re-establish the country's Parliament following the violent clash earlier in the week that led to the President fleeing the capital. The opposition leaders spoke Saturday at a funeral for some of the 79 demonstrators killed in the violence.

At a nationally broadcast memorial service near the capital, attended by several thousand mourners, some of the figures claiming total control of this Central Asia nation vowed to restore democracy.

The head of the interim government, Roza Otunbayeva, told the crowd that justice and democracy will be established.

The head of the opposition Ata Meken party, Omurbek Tekebaev, a deputy head of the interim leadership, said those who were fired upon by government troops Wednesday died for a cause.

The demonstrators, Tekebaev said, lost their lives to bring about freedom and democracy. He added that the interim leaders must fulfill the ideas of a people's government or their fate will be even worse than that met by the previous regime.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is refusing to step down and remains in the southern part of the country, his traditional stronghold. With public emotions running high after  the killing of civilians it appears unlikely he will be able to return any time soon to Bishkek

Although Kyrgyzstan, a poor country, has only 5.3 million people it is strategically significant. The former Soviet Socialist Republic hosts U.S. and Russian air bases.

The Manas airport is a key logistical link for NATO's fight against insurgents in Afghanistan.  Military passenger transport flights have been curtailed at the U.S. base, which the opposition has wanted closed.

Russia was the first to recognize the interim government that now insists it has replaced the Bakiyev administration, which itself came to power five years ago through a violent overthrow.