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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 1,737 1,632 1,500 145
GNI per capita
 US $ 330 290 280 178
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Kyrgyzstan


Area ( 


ethnic groups
Kyrgyz 52.4%
Russians 21.5%
Uzbeks 12.9%


Kyrgyz Som 

Askar Akayev


Update No: 290 - (03/03/05)

Rigged elections
In Kyrgyzstan, preliminary results in parliamentary elections on February 27th gave opposition members only three seats, most having gone to supporters of President Askar Akayev. He has promised to step down at a presidential election in October; but critics say he has rigged elections and is trying to fill parliament with relatives and allies to prolong his rule. Early results from the vote showed more than half the contests for the 75 parliament seats heading for runoffs, leaving the political future unsettled for the ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia.
The first-round victors included the son of President Askar Akayev, Aidar, although the leader's daughter, Bermet Akayeva, must face a runoff. Aidar Akayev is married to a daughter of Nursultan Nazerbayev of Kazakstan and is considered a possible successor.
The election was widely seen as a key test for Kyrgyzstan's commitment to democracy ahead of October presidential elections. Akayev, who has led Kyrgyzstan since 1990, is prohibited from seeking another term, but the opposition accused his supporters of plans to manipulate the vote so a compliant parliament would amend the constitution to allow a third term. Akayev denies wanting another term.
Some analysts suggest Kyrgyzstan is ripe for an outburst of the mass protests experienced by other post-Soviet countries. Opposition supporters have begun protests to disrupt the second round of voting - to be held on March 13th in more than half of the constituencies. Many are calling for a "tulip" or "lemon" revolution comparable to Ukraine's Orange Revolution and the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003.
A number of opposition figures were barred from running in the elections. In one district where protests broke out, voting was postponed until March 13. In a second, more than 60 percent of the voters marked their ballots against all candidates, meaning a new vote must be held there.
Of the remaining 73 seats, about 40 will be contested in a runoff election because no candidate received an absolute majority, according to early results. With so many races left undecided, it was unclear how much backing Akayev would have in the new parliament.
In one of the most heated pre-election disputes, prominent opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva was excluded from running against Akayev's daughter, Bermet. Otunbayeva, a former ambassador to the United States, was disqualified under a law that says candidates must have lived in Kyrgyzstan for the previous five years. "There were widespread interference by the authorities in the election process. The authorities didn't give people a free choice," Otunbayeva said at the Bishkek opposition rally.
There was no comment from Moscow, which faces another foreign policy crisis soon when Moldova goes to the polls in a parliamentary election in which all parties are calling for integration with the West and possible withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Independent States, which groups former Soviet republics.

Kyrgyzstan reconfigures its soviet-style parliament in line with national tradition 
Kyrgyzstan, which used to be part of the USSR, has reconfigured its Soviet-style legislative branch to bring it into line with national tradition. This is at least one plus in the occasion.
Until now, the republic has had a bicameral parliament, with its 105 members elected from party political lists in electoral regions as well as from single-member constituencies (with the winner in each constituency being the candidate polling the highest number of votes). The new system replaces the two legislative chambers with a single one, 75 members strong. This unicameral legislature is to be formed from candidates who win the highest percentage of votes in single-member constituencies. 
Vladimir Churov, deputy chair of the CIS Affairs Committee in the State Duma, or Russia's lower house of parliament, monitored the legislative election in Kyrgyzstan as part of an international CIS observer mission. Commenting on the ballot, he said that "general principles of democracy can only work if national particularities are taken into account. And if these are overlooked, the result will be the same as in Afghanistan, where there was an attempt to impose the Soviet version of democracy in the 1980s, or like what the US is now facing in Iraq." 
Mr. Churov quoted a high-ranking Kyrgyz politician as saying: "We have seen the old Russian administrative system's irrelevance in the modern-day environment, and decided therefore to switch over to the tribal principle of forming legislative bodies, one that is more natural to the Kyrgyz people." 
This principle did indeed reflect itself in the latest parliamentary ballot, Mr. Churov said. Among the winners of the first round of voting, there are quite a few names with the nobiliary particles "bai" and "bek." There is nothing wrong about parliament being formed from representatives of tribes that enjoy centuries-old popular respect, the Russian MP remarked. 
Assessing the voting from the point of view of compliance with democratic principles, Mr. Churov said he had been visiting polling stations throughout Election Day and that he had personally interviewed 200 observers representing candidates and public organizations of Kyrgyzstan. "No serious criticisms or complaints came from them," he reported. 
On the other hand, the observer missions of the CIS and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have given a different appraisal to the election, Mr. Churov said. The CIS team has assessed it as "legitimate, free and transparent," whereas their OSCE counterparts have concluded that it fell short of OSCE and other international electoral standards. Kimmo Kiljunen, head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission, said that the Kyrgyz election "was undermined throughout the country" by vote-buying, state media bias and disqualification of opposition candidates. The US Embassy in Bishkek has backed the OSCE, which also criticised President Akayev for claiming that Ukrainian-style protests could spark a civil war. 
Askar Aitmatov, the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister, said: "The assessment and conclusions by the OSCE mission were not balanced." But then he would.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Kyrgyzstan had shown advancements in the balloting since the last parliamentary election five years ago. But it cited faults, mostly charges of interference with the media. In the week before the vote, electricity was cut off to the printing house that puts out most of Kyrgyzstan's independent newspapers and broadcasts of U.S.-funded Radio Liberty's Kyrgyz-language service were taken off FM frequencies, the OSCE said. "This is a very, very serious problem, and that is one of the bases why we are not happy with the election environment in this country," said Kimmo Kiljunen of the OSCE's parliamentary assembly.
The criticisms were rejected by Central Elections Commission chairman Sulaiman Imanbayev. "There are double standards in their assessments," he said.
He also noted that observer groups from the Commonwealth of Independent States - a loose grouping of former Soviet republics - and the Shanghai Cooperation Council, dominated by Russia, China and several Central Asian nations, did not report serious violations. It will be noted that not any of these nations have any democratic traditions whatever, whereas they have long familiarity with the top-down autocracy of various types of apparatchik officialdom.



Opportunities exist for Russia-Kyrgyzstan cooperation

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, recently received Kyrgyz President, Askar Akayev, who was on a private visit to Moscow at the invitation of Moscow university, Irinnews reported.
Putin said the trade relations between the two countries are moderate but there are opportunities of good cooperation in energy and other industries.
Trade relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan grew by nearly 70 per cent in January-November 2004. Akayev said that bilateral trade enlarged by 2.5 times over the past four years. Trade made 180m Euro in 2000, and exceeded 400m Euro in 2004. The construction of a power plant on the Narym River is one of the largest bilateral projects, Akayev said.
Putin said that he "is glad to use the occasion" and discuss some aspects of the bilateral relations. The Kremlin leader offered Akayev to discuss bilateral interaction in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the CIS. He said he had signed into law an additional protocol to the Collective Security Treaty, which allows selling military hardware to member countries at Russian domestic prices. "Our servicemen have been waiting for this decision for a long time," Akayev said.
The fifth anniversary of the Russian-Kyrgyz Declaration on Cooperation and Partnership will be marked this year, he said. "Impressive results have been achieved, including the opening of a military base in Kant," he noted.
The Kyrgyz parliament has legalised the Russian military base in Kant, which "will become a key element of security in Central Asia," Akayev said. The state status of the Russian language in Kyrgyzstan will broaden humanitarian contacts, he added.





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