News / Asia

    Krygyzstan Parties Start Coalition Talks for Parliamentary Democracy

    Members of local electoral committee sort through a ballot box, at a polling station in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 10 Oct. 2010.
    Members of local electoral committee sort through a ballot box, at a polling station in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 10 Oct. 2010.
    James Brooke

    Kyrgyzstan's government held a democratic election - and then lost it.  That is the assessment in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital.

    Defying pre-election polls, a virulently nationalist party, Ata-Zhurt, or Fatherland, emerged as the top vote getter among the five parties that will seat representatives in Kyrgyzstan's new parliament.

    Next month, under a new constitution, Kyrgyzstan is to become Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy.  But Fatherland, and a pro-Russia party that did surprisingly well, Ar-Namys, campaigned for taking the nation back to a presidential system.

    That is the murky picture that emerged after the nation's two pro-government parties, the Social Democrats and Ata Meken, performed surprisingly poorly.

    As politicians start bargaining to forge a ruling coalition, the kingmaker role may be played by Respublika, a new force.  The party's founder, Omurbek Babanov, a businessman, met last month with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    How the election went

    With the shape of Kyrgyzstan's government expected to be a work in progress for weeks, authorities preferred to talk about the conduct of Sunday's voting.

    Interim President Roza Otunbayeva posted a video message on her website that hailed the election.
    She said, across this mountainous land Kyrgyz people "without pressure, without dictates, without any kind of run-around or machination, voted for those parties which they consider to be the strongest."

    Breaking with the region's political tradition of rigged elections, Kyrgyzstan, she said, held "free, democratic and open elections".

    This assessment was largely shared by an election monitoring group from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    "Fundamental freedoms, including the right of assembly, association, and expression, were generally respected," Norwegian parliamentarian, Martin Hoglund, who led the group, said.  "I have observed  a number of elections in Central Asia over the past years. I must say, this is election in Central Asia that I have been to, where I could not predict the outcome.  And I believe this election reflected the will of the people of the Kyrgyz Republic.''

    The observer group, part of about 500 foreign monitors who fanned out across the nation on Sunday, said voting was hampered by outdated voting lists.  The observers also cited the inability of some Uzbeks to vote in southern Kyrgyzstan because they had lost their documents in ethnic violence last June.   

    Vote manipulation?


    About 57 percent of voters turned out across the nation.  Surprisingly, Osh, the center of last summer's ethnic violence, reported the nation's highest turnout at 66 percent.

    One American poll watcher in Osh, who asked not to be named, said that authorities there manipulated voting to favor the nationalist Fatherland Party.  He said it was odd that in one Uzbek majority district, the votes went heavily to the Fatherland Party, a group whose leader has said Uzbeks should never enjoy equal rights with Kyrgyz.

    With 95 percent of the vote counted, the only area with incomplete results was a heavily Uzbek area in the south.

    Despite the irregularities, the election took place without violence.  And it appears the results will be largely accepted without violence.

    Most political leaders are now behind closed doors, having shifted their energies to negotiating a ruling coalition in the 120-member parliament that is to meet in November.

    You May Like

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora