Kyrgyzstan's experiment with pluralistic democratic rule faltered on October 12 when one party that narrowly missed getting into parliament questioned the results of the October 10 elections. The controversy threatens to undermine Kyrgyzstan's attempts to break Central Asia's autocratic political mould and has angered party supporters in the restive southern regions, threatening to unleash another round of destabilizing protests as the winners try to form a stable coalition government.
The nationalist Butun Kyrgyzstan (United Kyrgyzstan) party claims that electoral officials “playing with the figures” have deprived them of a voice in parliament. Many supporters – who took to the streets in Bishkek and the southern city of Osh, the party’s political heartland – believe the manipulation was deliberate.
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Reporting from Osh: Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia and Dean C.K. Cox is the photo editor for EurasiaNet. Reporting from Bishkek: David Trilling is the Central Asia news editor for EurasiaNet.