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Kyrgyzstan President Reverses Dismissal of Five Cabinet Members


The president of Kyrgyzstan has reversed the dismissals of five top Cabinet members Wednesday, hours after they were announced by the prime minister. Azim Isabekov originally announced the firings and invited the political opposition to form a coalition government. But leading opposition figures rejected the offer, prompting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to reverse the dismissals. VOA's Lisa McAdams in Moscow reports.

Prime Minister Azim Isabekov said Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev dismissed the first deputy prime minister, along with the Cabinet's chief of staff, and ministers of economics, emergency situations, and health care.

Mr. Isabekov said the move was aimed at the possible creation of a coalition government with the political opposition. He said the government is inviting new people, new forces, new people, and new ideas.

He said the list of sacked officials included First Vice Premier Daniyar Usenov, the emergencies minister, the head of the presidential administration, the trade minister and others.

Last week, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev promised constitutional reform and fired an unpopular top prosecutor, in a bid to pacify increasing opposition to his rule.

Mr. Bakiyev is accused of corruption and cronyism - the same charges that forced the ouster of his predecessor, Askar Akayev, amid popular protests two years ago this week.

But analyst Kumar Bekbalatov, the Director of the Bishkek Office for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, questions whether a coalition government is even possible at this time.

"... in order to have a coalition government, you need at least electoral legitimacy - you need parliamentary elections and you need several political parties who are unable to strike a deal," he says. "And now, even if the opposition is ready to fill those places, it does not give a guarantee that other opposition leaders will [not] keep raising the issues of one of the most important things [that] being the resignation of President Bakiyev."

Bekbalatov says first reports indicate the government's offer has been rejected outright by the political opposition, which is experiencing changes of its own.

Five prominent Kyrgyz opposition politicians say they have left the opposition movement, For Reforms, in order to create their own opposition party, called United Kyrgyzstan.

The new group says it opposes the immediate ouster of President Bakiyev, as well as the idea of popular protests, but supports the calling of early presidential elections in order to end continued political instability in Kyrgyzstan.

The other wing of opposition, led by former Prime Minister Felix Kulov, has vowed to go ahead with threatened protests beginning early April.