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Kyrgyzstan: Parliament Speaker Comes Under Fire

  • Bruce Pannier --> President Bakiev (left) sits next to the empty chair of parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebaev, who left moments before at today's meeting (RFE/RL) It was a tense political day in Kyrgyzstan today as the country's Security Council met and discussed security issues amid calls for the resignation of parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebaev. It is a decision only the parliament can make and was also a topic at today's parliamentary session. Some deputies are calling for an emergency session of parliament on 10 February or 13 February to discuss Tekebaev's resignation. Meanwhile, President Kurmanbek Bakiev, after attending the Security Council session, announced plans to reform the country's law-enforcement agencies.

PRAGUE, 9 February 2006 -- Omurbek Tekebaev, the speaker of Kyrgyzstan's parliament, may be the next high-level official to resign from his post. Reports on 8 February claim Tekebaev was planning to hand in his resignation, a fact not yet confirmed by the speaker himself.

Tekebaev tried to attend today's Security Council session, where his reported resignation was among the topics on the agenda. But the head of the presidential administration, Usen Sydykov, said that President Kurmanbek Bakiev would not attend the session if Tekebaev was present. Sydykov said Tekebaev had insulted the president in comments broadcast by an independent television station on Tuesday 7 February. Tekebaev then left the room.

Tekebaev has until 13 February before his fate as speaker is decided.

Debate Over His Fate

Today, Tekebaev was the subject of debate in parliament as well. Prosecutor-General Kambaraaly Kongantiev spoke about Tekebaev's recent comments on television.

"As a former deputy and as a chief prosecutor now, I have to emphasize that the speaker Omurbek Tekebaev's destructive activity is raising confrontation between parliament and the president of Kyrgyzstan, and between parliament and government," he said. "Such a situation confirms a crisis, provoked by confrontation between the parliament and other government institutions. These circumstances, according to our constitution, can become a reason for the dissolution of parliament by the Kyrgyz president."

Some leaders of nongovernmental organizations were urging Tekebaev not to resign. There were rallies today both for and against the speaker held in Tekebaev's home region of Jalal- Abad.

These latest events follow the 8 February decision by President Bakiev to accept the resignation of Security Council Deputy Secretary Vyacheslav Khan and dismissing the first deputy chief of the National Security Service, Abdijalil Jamalov. Parliament previously approved both moves.

Bakiev said more changes will soon be coming to the country's law-enforcement agencies.

"I think that the time has come for a cardinal recovery and reorganization of all the branches of law enforcement, from the militia to the courts," he said.

Bakiev appointed parliament member Kubatbek Baibolov to head a new commission overseeing the reform of law-enforcement agencies.

Reforming Security Services

The move comes amid an overhaul of Kyrgyzstan's security agencies, which started after Kyrgyz Prime Minister Feliks Kulov accused police and other security forces on 25 January of total failure in combating organized crime and corruption.

Baibolov said he would prepare a reform plan and present it to the president soon.

"I have agreed with President [Kurmanbek Bakiev]. I told him my condition that I will form a structure of the commission myself. Then we will work on [the concept of the reforms of the law-enforcement system] and we will propose it [to the Kyrgyz president]."

But Edil Baisalov, the president of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, a grouping of NGOs, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that such commissions have been formed in the past without any noticeable effect.

"You know, there were a lot of such commissions in the past. All were left in the papers. There will not be any result [from establishing another commission]. There is a necessity for the political will in order to fight organized crime and corruption and to resolve other issues."

Bakiev gave Baibolov one month to come up with a reform plan for law enforcement. Tekebaev has until 13 February before his fate as speaker is decided.

(Tynchtykbek Tchoroev of the Kyrgyz Service contributed to this report)

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