A new law in Kyrgyzstan that guarantees immunity from prosecution for the president has spurred speculation over whether incumbent chief executive, Askar Akayev, is planning to retire. Meanwhile, passage of the law has widened rifts within the political opposition.
The law, approved by parliament June 26, grants lifelong immunity to Akayev, and to two former Communist Party bosses Absamat Masaliev and Turdakun Usubaliev who led the Kyrgyz Republic during the Soviet era. The law covers all activities by the leaders while in office.
The legislation also grants Akayev lifelong privileges, including a permanent seat on the country's National Security Council, a pension equivalent to 80 percent of his presidential salary, and a car and driver. He also retains the right to live in his official residences, both in Bishkek and in the Issyk-Kul resort area. In addition, the state will pay his direct family members an annual stipend, as well as cover medical and communications costs.
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Alisher Khamidov is a Muskie Fellow at Joan B. Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University.