Supporters of former Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev attend a rally in Bishkek on October 9, 2020. - Two large crowds…
Supporters of former Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev attend a rally in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Oct. 9, 2020.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has resigned following mass protests against official results of parliamentary elections that handed victory to political parties associated with him and his government.

In a statement on Thursday, Jeenbekov said that he decided to resign "because peace and unity in our country is more important than any post."

"I am not holding onto power. I do not want to be known in the history of Kyrgyzstan as a president who spilled blood and shot at his own citizens," he said. "So I decided to resign."

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Jeenbekov said that despite his approval of parliament’s decision a day earlier to elect Sadyr Japarov as the country's new prime minister, "the aggressive moods did not disappear and calls for my resignation continued."

His statement said that protesters and law enforcement officers are "currently on the edge of clashes" and should "stay away from provocations."

Jeenbekov also called on supporters of Japarov and other political figures to stop ongoing rallies.

Until supporters broke him out of jail on October 6, Japarov had been serving an 11 1/2-year sentence after being convicted in 2017 of taking a government official hostage and other crimes. A court struck down the verdict last week during the unrest.

His October 14 confirmation as prime minister moved Kyrgyzstan toward resolving the crisis sparked by the demonstrations over the official results of October 4 parliamentary elections.

The election results were annulled after protesters -- angry at signs of vote-buying and other improprieties during the election -- seized government buildings on October 6.

Jeenbekov, in one of his first statements after the mass protests ousted the government and parliament's speaker, said he was willing to resign after a new cabinet was formed and the situation in the country had calmed.

It is the third time in 15 years that public protests have brought down a president in the former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

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