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"Kurultai in support of Jeenbekov": it’s again getting uneasy in Bishkek

Disorders in Bishkek in March 2010. Photo: warfor.me

In Kyrgyzstan, they are going to hold a kurultai (a civil congress) "in support of the current president" Sooronbay Jeenbekov. Initiators of the kurultai are civil activists and national-patriotic forces, that formerly were in opposition to former president Almazbek Atambayev. According to the head of the organizing committee Aybek Musulmankulov, representatives of all power branches, as well as all social and political forces, including former presidents Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev were invited to attend the kurultai. In this regard, experts do not rule out another aggravation of the situation in Kyrgyzstan.

"Kurultai means a national assembly. Whether the event will take place indoors or outdoors is not decided yet. For now, there are three topics on the agenda: combating corruption, the situation with political prisoners and the third issue is an unprecedented pressure on the media. Whether this range of issues will expand or not will be shown by meetings with the people that we will hold in the regions," the organizing committee representative Adil Turdukulov told EADaily.

The Kurultai is scheduled to take place on the anniversary of the bloody events of April 7, 2010, which led to the power reshuffle and made almost the entire country’s leadership flee the country. "Yesterday, the first meeting of the organizing committee took place. There was rather a heated discussion. The discussion was prompted by the proposal to invite the former presidents Akayev and Bakiyev to the kurultai. We invite them, because we think: the time has come to consolidate forces. It's time to find a consensus. Our main goal is the unification of all political parties. Akayev and Bakiyev are on the run, and those who served them are still serving today, but to the current regime," Turdukulov explained.

The activist noted that the presidency of Sooronbay Jeenbekov will be assessed in terms of how successful he will be in fulfilling demands of the people. "This will also form the attitude of civil society and the public towards him," Turdukulov said. He noted that "there are no opposition-minded citizens in our ranks." Answering the question whether Sooronbay Jeenbekov should recognize the policy of the previous president Atambayev as erroneous and declare its change, Adil Turdukulov replied that Kyrgyzstan is interested in a "self-sufficient president who does not look back".

"First, Jeenbekov is a nation-wide elected president, legitimate both inside the country and abroad. And he has every right to be guided in his actions only by the constitution and the will of the people. Secondly, many individuals who are now in power are largely guilty of what was going on, including in such matters as pressure on freedom of speech, on political opposition. And the president must dig deeper into these, right up the dismissal of the perpetrators, instituting criminal proceedings for unlawful persecution of opposition leaders, restriction of media freedom," Turdukulov told EADaily.

Kyrgyz politician Ravshan Dzheenbekov believes that, despite the fact that the kurultai is aimed at supporting the president, the issues to be considered are "absolutely oppositional." "More than 100 days have passed since the Jeenbekov inauguration. During this time, no real action was taken to combat corruption. Only statements come out. And the fight against corruption means not only staff reshuffle (most of the officials remained from the previous presidency), but above all - systemic reforms in the social sphere, the economy, the judiciary, the law enforcement system. Unfortunately, nothing has been announced by the president about any reforms," Jeenbekov said. In his opinion one of the reasons for the "indecisiveness of the head of the Kyrgyz state" is the behind-the-scenes tough confrontation between the two teams - former president Atambayev and President Jeenbekov. So far, the leaders manage to find a common language, but the teams are already in conflict.

"The fight will be tough. And if Atambaev does not stand it at some point - as he is a quick-tempered person - it will lead to an open conflict, that we already passed in 2005 and 2010," Ravshan Dzheenbekov said.

EADaily reminds that attempts to hold in Kyrgyzstan kurultai were made even before this time. According to the member of the kurultai organizing committee Kadyr Koshaliev, the question is how legitimate the decisions of this meeting will be. There is a reason to give the kurultai a function of a state institution, but under the constitution today it is a "form of public assembly", so "its decisions can be considered by the authorities only as recommendations, not even binding." According to Koshaliyev, at this year's kurultai an attempt can be made to give it a higher status and, consequently, more important functions in the social and political life of Kyrgyzstan.

EADaily's Central Asian Bureau

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