Kyrgyz Prime Minister resigns

Tue 12 Apr 2016

Kyrgyz Prime Minister resigns

On 11 April Prime Minister Temir Sariyev announced his resignation. With his resignation the entire cabinet will step down but fulfil its duties until the new cabinet is formed. The announcement comes after a parliamentary commission accused the entire cabinet of corruption. "Squabbles, rumors and gossip have upset the balance within the government," Sariyev said during a cabinet meeting open to the media. "The government's work has stalled at such a difficult time."

Road construction scandal
The prime minister's resignation came two days before a parliamentary commission was to present the result of its investigation concerning a road construction project. Sariyev said right after he send in his resignation: "I am ready to resign, but I will fight for my own name and for my credibility. I am asking for a fair and objective investigation," he stressed.

The parliamentary commission accused the cabinet of corruption by finding that the Chinese company, Longhai, which won a tender to construct a 104-kilometer part of the ring road around Issyk-Kul, did not have the proper licences to construct the project. On 7 April the parliament called for both Malabayev and Sariyev to resign. Malabayev accused his deputy, Ulan Uezbayev, of helping Longhai win the tender at the behest of Sariyev’s associates, Akipress reported. Malabayev also accused Sariyev of having personal interests in awarding the tender to the Chinese company. Sariyev petitioned President Almazbek Atambayev to push for Malabayev’s resignation, but Atambayev declined, ordering the state anti-corruption agency to first investigate the accusations. Sariyev then took to Facebook to defend himself, posting a 13-point defence. He stressed that he was not involved in the tender procedures and endorsed an objective investigation of that matter.

Free elections
The first largely free and fair parliamentary elections took place on 10 October 2010, followed by presidential elections in October 2011 that were won by Almazbek Atambaev. The country became the first parliamentary republic in Central Asia. The process of democratization however did not happen without the disbandment of several coalitions between 2012 and 2015. In October 2015 the second free and fair parliamentary elections were held in Kyrgyzstan, leading to a big victory for the Pro-Russian Social Democratic party (SDPK). Unlike its autocratic Central Asian neighbours, Kyrgyzstan has a relatively powerful parliament while limiting presidential powers.

Sources: Thediplomat, Reuters, 24, RFE/RL, Trend