Kyrgyzstan’s Ruling Coalition Collapses, Again
Spring, Kyrgyzstan’s traditional season for political jockeying, seems to have begun on schedule as the governing coalition headed by embattled Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiyev met a long-expected end March 18. Following the routine in which his predecessor lost power in August 2012, Satybaldiyev’s ouster was triggered when the Ata-Meken party and its capricious leader Omurbek Tekebayev walked out of the three-party governing agreement.
The fall is not surprising. Satybaldiyev had few allies beyond President Almazbek Atambayev and his Social Democratic Party. And, some argue, Kyrgyzstan’s constitution promotes executive turnover by placing the fate of the cabinet firmly in the hands of temperamental (many would say generally self-serving) lawmakers. But with parliament's parties splintered and mutually hostile, it should be difficult for President Almazbek Atambayev to come up with a candidate who can please enough of the 120-seat body to form a new coalition.
Satybaldiyev’s coalition was the third since elections in late 2010; like his forerunner, Omurbek Babanov, Satybaldiyev spent much of his time in office battling accusations of corruption. He and his ministers will remain in their positions until a new coalition is formed.
The next elections are scheduled for autumn 2015. For anyone looking to kick-start an electoral campaign early, the premier position guarantees a lot of free airtime. If forming a new government proves impossible, the president has the mandate to call early elections.
Chris Rickleton is a journalist based in Almaty.