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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

Update No: 323 - (26/11/07)

The revolution continues
The 'revolution' carries on, insofar as no one can any more dictate the political course of events. The situation is still volatile in Kyrgystan. After months of wrangling between government and opposition, it is agreed that there should be new elections to parliament in December. 

But there is now huge controversy over what form they should take.

Concern is being raised in Kyrgyzstan over a requirement that political parties must pass a certain threshold in each of the country's seven regions in order to win parliamentary seats in elections. Kyrgyzstan's first parliamentary elections based on party lists are set for December 16 after a new constitution and laws were passed in an October referendum.

These are the first parliamentary elections since President Askar Akaev was ousted in the so-called Tulip Revolution in March 2005.

The new dispensation
The Central Election Commission has ruled that according to the new election law, parties must get at least 13,500 votes, or 0.5 percent of the overall total of registered voters nationwide, in each of the country's seven provinces and two biggest cities, Bishkek and Osh - a rule meant to prevent purely regional parties with no other qualification from making it into the national parliament. Very hard for Kyrgyzstan's clan-based politics to come to terms with.

This requirement is in addition to the 5 % of the votes parties must receive nationwide in order to gain representation in parliament. Speaking on November 19, Central Election Commission Chairwoman Klara Kabilova said the "0.5 percent" requirement is needed to "consolidate and strengthen the role of political parties."

But in a joint address to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a group of 11 opposition parties have urged him to abolish the regional election threshold, saying it's against the constitution and regional interests. "We appeal [to the president] as the guarantor of the constitution to cancel the illegal decision by the Central Election Commission," Kubatbek Baibolov, a member of the opposition Atameken (Fatherland) party, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service. "If he does not take any decision by November 21, then we have decided to meet again tomorrow evening in order to consider further actions. The actions might be of any kind. There could be a boycott of [parliamentary elections]. There could be rallies."

Meanwhile, the Civil Committee for Voter Rights Protection called the requirement a "serious obstacle" for parties to enter parliament. The committee was set up on November 14 by several nongovernmental organizations to protect voters' rights. 

In a November 20 statement, the group said there was a "real danger" that the requirement may lead to "new conflicts among the population." It said the requirement prevented citizens from having equal access to the process of making governmental decisions and running the country. 
A total of 22 parties have applied for registration to participate in the vote. Campaigning is officially due to start on November 26.

Bakiyev in Japan
The Kyrgyz president has proposed himself as a forward-looking statesman, ahead of the elections, by visiting Japan.

He and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda signed a joint statement on friendly relations, partnership and cooperation between the two countries in Tokyo on November 14.

An official of the Kyrgyz Embassy in Tokyo told Itar-Tass the sides expressed readiness to "cooperate in all fields, including in the trade and economic fields." Bakiyev and Fukuda said they supported Japan's assistance to the development of Kyrgyzstan. They also praised Japan's contribution to promoting market reforms and democracy in Kyrgyzstan. 

Bakiyev began his three-day visit to Japan on November 14 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During the visit, the Kyrgyz president is expected to be received by the imperial family, speaker of the lower house of Japan's parliament Yohei Kono and other officials. On Friday, Bakiyev will take part in an investment seminar with the participation of businessmen. 

According to Itar-Tass reports, Japanese businessmen abstain from investments in Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, Japan and the United States rank first and second (in rotation) by providing assistance to Kyrgyzstan. Totally, Japan has provided over 400 million U.S. dollar low-percent credits, subsidies and technical contribution. 

In 2006 trade turnover between the two countries reached 1.265 billion yen (about 11.5 million U.S. dollars). Japan imports aluminium, non-ferrous metals and exports cars and auto-tyre casings. 





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