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Kyrgyzstan: Ruling Coalition Collapses in Constitution Row

The government in Kyrgyzstan has collapsed after weeks of sniping between coalition members over contentious constitutional reform plans.

The Social Democratic Party (SDPK) declared in a statement on October 24 that it is leaving the four-party coalition.

Objections to amending the 2010 constitution had been voiced most strongly by the left-leaning Ata-Meken party, which all the while resisted pressure for it to initiate the breakup of the ruling coalition.

In an illustration of the seriousness of its disagreement with Ata-Meken, SPDK accused the party of being in cahoots with the deposed leaders of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

“We cannot be in one coalition with those that, as it turns out, share common interests with the Akayevs and Bakiyevs, and who follow their instructions. With those who oppose the interests of the country. It became especially obvious during the constitutional reform,” the party claimed in official statement.

There is no immediate evidence that Ata-Meken have engaged in any dialogue with either of the country’s former leaders.

The outgoing coalition was formed by four political parties soon after the parliamentary elections in October. It constituent parties included the SPDK party of President Almazbek Atambayev, the mostly pro-government Kyrgyzstan Party, the agrarian issues-dominated Onuguu-Progress and Ata Meken. Two other parties, Bir Bol and Respublika-Ata Zhurt, remain in the opposition’s ranks.

The initiative to tinker with the current constitution has been steadily gathering pace since July. Backers of the fix have proposed around 30 amendments, which are due to be put to the population in a referendum in December.

Among the most controversial changes are those envisioning the bolstering of the office of the prime minister at the expense of the parliament, the weakening of the judicial system and the recasting of the state’s obligations toward upholding human rights.

The proposed amendments have been made object of virulent criticism by many nongovernment groups and the leader of the Ata Meken party, Omurbek Tekebayev, who was instrumental to forging the 2010 constitution now under review.

The standoff between Tekebayev and Atambayev set off an unsightly tit-for-tat of accusations. The president’s supporters accused Tekebayev and his backers of involvement in looting following the April 2010 revolution, while Atambayev has faced questions of his alleged involvement in a shady land deal.
The collapse of the coalition has long been on the wall. SDPK leader Isa Omurkulov in September advised Tekebayev to take the first step in pulling out, evidently not wanting his own party to be seen causing the rift. But Ata Meken declined to take the bait.

“We did not [quit the coalition] as a matter of principle, because we did not violate a single item in the coalition agreement,” Almambet Shykmamatov, a member of parliament with Ata Meken, told AKIpress news agency. “Besides, [SDPK] have some bargain with Respublika-Ata Jurt. They will take them into the coalition and gang up against us.”

 

Kyrgyzstan: Ruling Coalition Collapses in Constitution Row

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