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Kyrgyzstan: NGO Leader Says Akaev Responsible For Revolution

  • Nikola Krastev

http://gdb.rferl.org/C574C8FE-BE15-404A-8EDA-0708CEDA27E8_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/C574C8FE-BE15-404A-8EDA-0708CEDA27E8_mw800_mh600.jpg Critics say ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev nurtured his own political demise In an appearance 6 May at the New York law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, Edil Baisalov, the leader of Kyrgyzstan’s Coalition for Civil Society and Democracy, discussed the causes and consequences of the recent power change in the country. One of Kyrgyzstan’s best-known advocates for civil society, Baisalov traveled to Washington and New York last week to spread the message, as he says, of what really happened in Kyrgyzstan in the last six weeks.

New York, 9 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Edil Baisalov described the so-called “revolution” in Kyrgyzstan as “unexpected, quick and premature,” not only for the outside world but for the opposition itself -- an opposition which Baisalov said was “weak and divided."

Baisalov said that, in a way, President Askar Akaev nurtured and conducted his own political demise. Baisalov went so far as to credit the former head of state as the creator and organizer of the so-called “revolution."

“The whole revolution, the whole credit belongs to Askar Akaevich Akaev -- to him and only him," Baisalov said. "He is the author, he is the main perpetrator, he is the main organizer, he is the person who set it up for us."

Baisalov said that as a politician and manipulator, President Akaev outsmarted not only the opposition but his own allies as well. Akaev’s main weapon of manipulation with his adversaries, said Baisalov, was to make repeated promises and then not deliver.

International observers have already noted that whoever wins the presidency of Kyrgyzstan in the scheduled July elections will need the support of all political forces in order to carry out constitutional reform.
Baisalov said the goal for the July presidential vote is to ensure there will be no “zero sum” game where a rival political group or clan usurps all the power.


In a report published last week, the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit monitoring institution, noted that Kyrgyzstan’s interim government, headed by Kurmanbek Bakiev, has shown little willingness to dismantle the order established under the former president in which friends and family members hold the keys to political and economic power.

Baisalov said that the main goal for the upcoming presidential elections is to ensure that there will be no “zero sum” game where a rival political group or clan usurps all the power.

The losing party, or parties, "should know that there is a place in the system, in the parliament, in the cabinet," Baisalov said. "The winner doesn’t get it all, he has to deal with others.”

Asked how he sees the process of constitutional reform in Kyrgyzstan, Baisalov replied that there should be some kind of “gentlemen’s agreement” among the aspirants to power with regarding this particular issue.

“There is a constitutional clause which prevents us from changing the constitution under the interim president. So we cannot have a referendum, we cannot introduce the changes before the legitimate president is elected," Baisalov said. "But the idea is to have a draft of the constitution, to have this consensus document, and to have all of the leading candidates pledge that the first thing they [will] do is that they will have this referendum.”

Baisalov told the audience in New York that many people in Kyrgyzstan, including some of the opposition candidates, do not want Bermet Akaeva, the ex-president’s daughter, to be stripped of her duties as a parliamentary deputy because she is the only woman currently holding a seat in the 75-seat Kyrgyz Parliament.

The issue of female participation in the political process, he acknowledged, is an embarrassing one. “We could expect a few marginal figures to pop up, there are quite a few women who could participate," Baisalov said. "But I think Roza Otunbaeva said that she is not running, she will endorse Bakiev. But we should introduce some quota [for women] of maybe 30 percent or more."

Baisalov told the New York audience that during the controversial parliamentary elections in March his coalition’s 120 observers served as de facto reporters providing information to the world’s news organizations. Thus, he said, they prevented attempts by Akaev allies to distribute distorted information. He said that his coalition will take on a similar role during the scheduled July presidential elections.
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