Where Are Kyrgyzstan’s Votes?
Two weeks after Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary elections – the freest in Central Asia’s history, according to international observers – authorities have still not released official results, delaying the creation of a new government. The uncertainty is stoking political tensions along Kyrgyzstan’s north-south fault line. Members of the winning, opposition Ata-Jurt party say forces within the interim government, who feel they lost the election, are deliberately stalling, provoking instability so as to cancel the results and hold a new poll, party insiders tell EurasiaNet.org. Provisional President Roza Otunbayeva has called for patience while problems with a small number of ballots are resolved. Yet her circle, which was reportedly shocked by Ata-Jurt’s win, may not be keen on a final result being released until the interim government can ensure a leg up in the future governing coalition, the Ata-Jurt skeptics say. Suspicious events at the house of Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev are further muddying the situation. Tashiev says the head of the State Security Service (SNB) organized an attack on his home on October 23. Hundreds of his supporters have rallied over the past two days, demanding SNB Chief Keneshbek Dushebayev’s dismissal. Tashiev’s party, which draws its support from the south and leans nationalist, counts many Bakiyev supporters among its cadres. Rallies by the nationalist opposition Butun Kyrgyzstan, another southern party whose supporters say they rightfully won parliamentary seats before the Central Election Commission (CEC) changed the rules at the last minute, are adding to southern irritation with events in Bishkek. If the government is stalling, here is another reason: Fall is quickly descending on Bishkek and with the cold and rain, protest season ends. In response to calls for a recount, one CEC official declared the process could “lead to a civil war in Kyrgyzstan,” 24.kg reported. Certainly any delay threatens to deepen antagonisms between north and south, where the interim government is unpopular. Efforts to sideline Ata-Jurt, especially after the Butun Kyrgyzstan numbers debacle, could deepen that distrust.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.