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Kyrgyz president asks parliament to vote again on PM amid crisis

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Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov speaks after a vote at a parliamentary elections in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, October 4, 2020. — Kyrgyz Presidential Press Service/handout pic via Reuters
Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov speaks after a vote at a parliamentary elections in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, October 4, 2020. — Kyrgyz Presidential Press Service/handout pic via Reuters

BISHKEK, Oct 13 — Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov today asked parliament to vote again on a new prime minister after MPs backed Sadyr Japarov, a nationalist politician recently freed from jail by supporters.

Embattled president Jeenbekov met Japarov and said he would not approve his appointment, citing doubts that rules were adhered to during a vote by lawmakers, a statement by the presidential administration said.

It came shortly after a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Central Asian state for talks aimed at resolving the political crisis.

Japarov was serving jail time for hostage-taking and other crimes until he was freed in a night of political mayhem last week along with other imprisoned politicians.

MPs voted for him to become acting prime minister on Saturday, but several lawmakers have raised concerns about the session that endorsed Japarov and his cabinet, citing a lack of quorum.

“To maintain and strengthen stability in the country, all our decisions must be legitimate and not be questioned,” Jeenbekov was quoted as saying in the statement.

Over 1,200 people were injured and one killed in violent protests that broke out after October 4 parliamentary polls.

The opposition and observers reported widespread buying of votes by parties close to Jeenbekov.

The results of the poll were annulled in the wake of the violence and Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency in the capital Bishkek.

On Friday he offered to resign as president once order was restored and a new government formed.

Japarov has said he expects Jeenbekov to step down.

It was not clear when parliament would vote on a new prime minister.

Putin’s deputy chief of staff Dmitry Kozak visited the ex-Soviet state yesterday, meeting both President Jeenbekov and Japarov, a statement on the Kyrgyz president’s website said.

Kozak came “on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” it said, while giving no details of what was discussed.

The visit was Moscow’s first visible intervention in the crisis after post-vote protests grew into clashes, paralysing the central government as rival groups jockeyed for power.

Unrest in Kyrgyzstan has worried its ally Russia, coming as post-election protests rock ex-Soviet neighbour Belarus and clashes continue over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked republic of 6.5 million people, has had two presidents overthrown by street protests since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. — AFP

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