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Kyrgyzstan: Lawmakers End Parliamentary Crisis

  • Jean-Christophe Peuch

http://gdb.rferl.org/15F5099E-08C1-4536-BDA5-7F27CE748375_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/15F5099E-08C1-4536-BDA5-7F27CE748375_mw800_mh600.jpg The lower house of the Kyrgyz Parliament (file photo) The upper house of Kyrgyzstan's outgoing parliament on 29 March voted to dissolve itself, following a similar decision by the lower house. The two votes formally put an end to a legislative crisis brewing since the ouster of President Askar Akaev last week. Interim leader Kurmanbek Bakiev welcomed the lawmakers' decision, saying it is time to restore order in the country. Meanwhile, supporters of the ousted president say they are forming a new political movement and pressing for an investigation into last week's events.

Bishkek, 29 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The decision to dissolve the People's Representatives Assembly, as the upper house of the outgoing Kyrgyz legislature is known, was reached late on 28 March.

Announcing the change, house speaker Muratbek Mukashev said the decision had been made in an effort to help preserve peace and stability: "Considering that on March 28, the new, single-chamber parliament of Kyrgyzstan elected Omurbek Tekebaev as its speaker, that it confirmed Kurmanbek Salievich Bakiev as prime minister and accepted his oath, members of the People's Representatives Assembly consider it necessary, for the sake of stabilization and in order to avoid any further conflict, to stop their activities before term, before April 14 of this year."

The new unicameral parliament -- elected in the disputed 27 February and 13 March elections -- went into session on 22 March. When its mandate was revoked just two days later, a standoff was sparked between the outgoing and incoming legislatures.

Following the agreement on 28 March, 32 of the 45 deputies from the outgoing upper house voted the next morning to end their mandate.

Bakiev attended the session. Speaking to the outgoing lawmakers, he welcomed the vote as the "right decision."

"The text you've just adopted has an enormous significance. It will retain an important place in the history of Kyrgyzstan."

The vote followed a similar decision made earlier by 25 deputies of the 60-member lower house of parliament. Although the lower house's decision is not legally binding, it effectively prevents the deputies from convening again since the necessary quorum cannot be met.

The upper house's decision formally puts an end to the constitutional crisis that had emerged from Akaev's ouster.

For the past six days, Kyrgyzstan had been effectively living with two dueling legislatures -- the old, bicameral parliament; and the new, single-chamber parliament -- which both claimed they were legitimate.

Bakiev said today he will turn his attention to other priorities now that the parliamentary crisis is over: "The most important thing now is to restore order and stabilize the situation [in the country]."

Akaev's supporters have indicated they are not yet ready to give up the fight.

Two Akaev allies -- former Interior Minister Kenesh Dushebaev and former Emergencies Minister Temirbek Akmatiliev -- announced today that security officials loyal to the ousted president had regrouped.

Their so-called "Justice" movement is demanding that a state commission be formed, with representatives from all political parties, to investigate last week's events. Justice members call the ouster an "anticonstitutional change of political regime."

They also say that unless Akaev returns to Bishkek and officially announces his resignation, they will continue to view him as the legitimate leader of the country and its armed forces.

The ousted Kyrgyz leader has not formally stepped down and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Kyrgyzstan's Kabar state news agency yesterday released a statement allegedly written by the former president. In it, Akaev asks the country's new leaders to stop harassing his relatives and supporters.

New security chief Feliks Kulov last week pledged that no official of the previous regime will be arrested or prosecuted without proper investigation.
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