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Friday, April 29, 2005


Run-up to Kyrgyz election

Reuters AlertNet provides a look at the candidates and issues in Kyrgyzstan's upcoming election.

Ordinary people say the issue of stability remains paramount after the euphoria of the revolution has waned.

"It is good that the corrupt family and clan-based regime has gone. But the new government is facing a severe shortage of time. The initial euphoria is diminishing and people are questioning what has been achieved," Sadyrbay, 64, a local pensioner in the southern city of Osh, told IRIN. "If there is no stability in the coming several months and people do not see tangible results from the regime change, the new authorities will lose all credit."

"Nobody regrets that Akayev is gone, but the new authorities have shown their inability to tackle the challenges lying ahead of them. People need to see that real change is taking place," Almaz, a university student in Bishkek, told IRIN.

But others were less optimistic. "One corrupt government official replaced the outgoing one and that is all," Zakirbek, a 49-year-old teacher, told IRIN, pessimistically.

"The new government turned out to be very soft, while they need to be tough during this difficult period," Alymbai, another teacher from Osh, told IRIN. "As you see, some people have started to illegally occupy land, mobs change one official after another. They need to put an end to that lack of authority, otherwise the country will fall into chaos and civil conflict. We do not want to even imagine the consequences of such a scenario," he warned.

Meanwhile, there is growing interest in emigration and leaving the country altogether, especially among the Russian minority. "First of all, the new authorities have not clearly proclaimed their position towards minorities. This uncertainty makes people want to run away. Secondly, the looting of businesses, shops and companies has led to the unemployment of Russians in the city," Valerii Vishnevskii, chairman of the Slavic Fund, a local civic group to tackle the problems of the Russian minority, told IRIN in Bishkek.

Meanwhile, the acting president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, has called for constitutional reform. Radio Free Europe reports:

"The power of the president elected nationwide has to be greater, because he is elected by the entire Kyrgyzstan nation," Bakiev said. "At the same time, the president...should have his [proper] responsibilities as well. For instance, the existing constitution does not contain [responsibilities for the president]."

Bakiev said that all the branches of power [executive, legislative, and judicial] must be equal. He said it is not good to give too much power to the presidency.

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