In the months following the cleanest elections ever held in Kyrgyzstan, several elected deputies suddenly lost their seats, and, in the process, revealed the shadowy horse-trading that passes for politics in Central Asia’s most lively parliament.
Some gave up their seats for a quieter or perhaps more lucrative life. Others were squeezed out in a fashion that will rekindle cynicism about the inner doings of political parties.
The parliamentary vote in October was meant to be a game-changer — a test of whether the country could hold a calm and fair contest at a time of peace. The vote in 2010 was held after the violent overthrow of a president, followed by the convulsion of ethnic unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan a few months later.
Fourteen parties competed for the 120 seats in parliament this time around.
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Anna Lelik is a Bishkek-based reporter.