(Crossroads Central Asia) Kyrgyzstan plunged into an acute political crisis following the 4 October 2020 parliamentary elections. The events exposed a complete bankruptcy of the country’s political establishment. For several days, Bishkek’s streets turned into a scene of warlords, with crowds racing to take control over buildings and squares in the country’s capital. What has happened in Kyrgyzstan, and what does it tell us about?
Unfair elections, once again
The current crisis was kicked-off with the parliamentary elections on 4 October 2020. Sixteen parties contested for 120 seats in the unicameral Jogorku Kenesh, the national parliament. President Jeenbekov repeatedly denied supporting any party, but few in Kyrgyzstan believed such claims. Three parties were widely seen as the “pro-presidential troika”, including Birimdik, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyzstan parties. They were packed by former government officials and wealthy businessmen, including many with shady backgrounds. President’s brother, Asylbek Jeenbekov oversaw Birimdik while Mekenim Kyrgyzstan belonged to Raimbek Matraimov, former deputy chief of the customs service, alleged to be the architect of sophisticated corruption schemes. [...]
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