It’s boom time for Kyrgyzstan’s political parties. When voters approved a new constitution on June 27, the country became the first parliamentary republic in Central Asia. Since then, the Justice Ministry has registered 148 parties to compete in elections scheduled for this October; more are reportedly waiting in the queue.
But many analysts and politicians are concerned that the variety of competing parties -- often driven by one individual’s personality rather than a political agenda -- could lead to a vicious struggle for power in the months ahead. Violence, Kyrgyzstan’s recent history has shown, has become as legitimate a tool for political change as the ballot box. And with tensions seething since a bout of ethnic bloodletting last month, many are predicting chaos or, at the very least, a nasty campaign full of angry, nationalist rhetoric.
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Ulan Temirov is the pseudonym for a journalist based in Bishkek.