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Kyrgyz Report: March 15, 2000

15 March 2000

About 400 people are held a protest demonstration in the center of Bishkek on 15 March. 5 participants have been detained. Organizer of demonstration is the Movement for Social Protection of People. Chairwoman of the movement Lidiya Fomova announced the demonstration on 14 March.

They wanted to picket the government building first, protesting a court ruling on barring opposition candidate Daniyar Usenov from the run-off elections and other irregularities during the elections. The guards did not allow the crowd to reach the building and the protestors held the demonstration along the nearest central street.

It was reported that there is one of the brothers of Daniyar Usenov among those detained.

About 100 participants of the demonstration came from the Talas Province. They protestedthe alleged forgery of the election results. Opposition candidate Felix Kulov is reported lost in the runoff elections last Sunday.

Similar demonstrations continue in the other Kyrgyz regions. Residents of the Kara-Buura village in Talas Province are protesting for the straight fourth day on 15 March. Felix Kulov ran from the Kara-Buura constituency and protest meetings began in the evening of 12 March, when the first preliminary results of the runoffs were announced.

Demonstrators in the town of Balykchy of Issyk-Kul province protested on 15 March for the second day. Results of the first round elections, held on 20 February, were annulled just before the runoffs. Opposition candidate Omurbek SubanAliyev collected the most votes in the Issyk-Kul constituency in the first round.

Mark Stevens of OSCE Election Observation Mission in Kyrgyzstan gave an interview to RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 14 March. According to him, Kyrgyz authorities did not eliminate mistakes made between the first and second rounds, and those that occurred during the first round, in spite of the fact that the OSCE mission asked for it. Stevens said if the Kyrgyz authorities do not react to criticism, there are other organizations in the world which are interested in deepening the democratization process in Kyrgyzstan and whom the OSCE will send its statements.

The Mission issued in Bishkek on 13 March a press release on the results of the parliamentary elections. According to it, "the active participation of Kyrgyz civil society in the election continues to be a positive factor in the process. However, negative trends identified during the two rounds of this election, notably the manipulation of the legal system for political advantage, the lack of independence of election commissions, bias in the state media and interference by state officials in the electoral process should be addressed before the Presidential Elections at the end of the year."

Also, "the interpretation of the Election Code by the Central Election Commission, providing for automatic election of a candidate in the event of the withdrawal or the de-registration of their second round opponents, is against the spirit of the legislation, which requires a candidate to secure the majority of votes from the registered electorate in order to be elected in the first round. This interpretation also opened the process to abuse, as candidates could be induced or pressured to withdraw and de-registration of a candidate could be sought by unscrupulous or other interested parties."

Chairman of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights Ramazan Dyryldayev gave a news conference at the RFE/RL headquarters in Washington on 14 March. He talked on human rights status and results of the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan.

According to Dyryldaev, western governments do not pay enough attention to changes to authoritarianism in Kyrgyzstan and that is why the Kyrgyz authorities are persecuting opposition more and more hardly. Dyryldaev said everything in the country is decided now by President Askar Akatyev and his office. And Akayev himself began the persecutions, dissolving the parliament in 1994 and suing independent journalists in 1995.

Now, the Kyrgyz authorities are trying to bar all the opposition candidates from parliament and shadowing all their steps. And situation in Kyrgyzstan is more complicated than, for example, in neighboring Uzbekistan. President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan does not promise democracy, but Kyrgyz President Akayev promises democracy from the main entrance of the country, persecuting the opposition from the back entrance at the same time.

Also, according to Dyryldaev, there are continued abuses of rights of minorities, women and imprisoned people in the country. Some leaders of the non-political organizations have been persecuted too and even imprisoned recently. He mentioned Nurlan Alymkulov, head of the Yntymak youth organization, who was arrested, for his activity to improve situation with homeless young people in the country.

Dyryldaev has been the chairman of the Kyrgyz Committee on Human Rights since 1995. He was member of Kyrgyz parliament in 1992-1995. The Kyrgyz Justice Ministry deprived his committee of registration in September 1998 and re-registered it again last August under pressure from foreign human rights organizations.

700 to 1,000 people continue picketing the district administration building in the village of Kara-Buura of Talas Province for the third day. According to them, most voters of the district voted for opposition candidate Felix Kulov last Sunday, but the results have been forged and pro-governmental candidate Alymbai Siltanov won.

Sapar Bayalinov, member of election campaign team of Kulov, told RFE/RL correspondent in Talas on 14 March that no official has met with protesters since 12 March. Demonstration began in the evening of 12 March, when the preliminary results were announced.

Felix Kulov held a news conference in Bishkek on 14 March. According to him, he appealed to court demanding to annul the results of the run-off elections in the Kara-Buura (# 44) constituency of Talas Province, held on 12 March. Kulov said his supporters had prepared statements on about 350 facts of irregularities during the voting and most of cases were recorded on video. According to Kulov, both government and local authorities campaigned against him and his contender Alymbai Sultanov violated election rules a lot of times, but authorities did not pay any attention to it.

Kulov, chairman of the opposition Dignity Party, added if the presidential elections are held in set time, in December, it will be difficult for incumbent President Askar Akayev to win in them. But, according to Kulov, results of the presidential elections might also be falsified.

The Coalition of Kyrgyz Non-Governmental Organizations issued a statement in Bishkek on 14 March saying there were a lot of irregularities in the Kara-Buura (# 44) constituency where opposition candidate Felix Kulov ran. According to the statement, the officials who forged election results in the constituency should be sued. The Coalition is analyzing now reports of its 55 observers in the constituency and a special news conference will be held in Bishkek on 17 March.

Chairwoman of the Movement for Social Protection of People Lidiya Fomova announced in Bishkek on 14 March that the movement would organize a picket in front of the government building in Bishkek the following morning. They will protest a court ruling on barring opposition candidate Daniyar Usenov from the run-off elections.

Usenov, chairman of the opposition People's Party, collected most of votes in the first round held on 20 February, but election commissions and courts barred him from the second round just before the runoffs. Usenov was accused by his rival of incorrect income declaration.

About 1,000 people picketed on 14 March the building of the Jalal-Abad regional administration in the town of Jalal-Abad. According to them, their candidate Kamchybek Tashiev should have won in the runoff elections but lost. Tashiev's supporter Kuttubek Omorov told RFE/RL correspondent in Jalal-Abad that irregularities were found in the all twelve polling stations of the constituency. Protesters dispersed only after Tashiev met with them and announced that he had appealed to court. The same happened yesterday, about 700 people took part in the yesterday picket.

About 200 people demonstrated in the town of Balykchy on 14 March. They protested the authorities' decision to annul the first round election results in the Issyk-Kul (# 17) constituency. Opposition candidate Omurbek SubanAliyev collected most votes in the constituency on 20 February but a local election commission announced them illegal on 7 March. Both the Central Election Commission and the Supreme Court upheld the decision on the eve of the runoffs.

Fifteen seats in the 105-seat Kyrgyz parliament are allotted to political parties. According to results of the first round elections on 20 February, the Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan would receive 5 seats, the pro-governmental Union of Democratic Forces - 4 seats, the Women's Democratic Party - 2 seats, the Party of Afghan War Veterans - 2 seats, the moderate opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) Party - 1 seat and the Party of My Country - 1 seat in the Assembly.

Elections to the other 90 seats (45 seats in the each house of by-cameral parliament) were held from single-mandate constituencies.

Janysh Rustenbekov has been found elected from the Tuenduek (# 6) constituency due to his contender-to-be in the runoff Valeri Khon was barred from elections at last moment. However, no official decision by the Supreme Court on it has been published yet.

Also, an appeal to the Supreme Court by candidate Iskhak MasAliyev has not been considered yet. He was barred from the run-off elections at last moment and the elections in the Kadamjai (# 25) constituency (for both houses) will be held later.

Candidate Bayaman Erkinbaev, who lost elections in the first round, had appealed to the Supreme Court too and elections in the Batken (# 24) constituency (also for the both houses) will also be held later.The authorities annulled the first round election results to the lower house from the Issyk-Kul (# 17) constituency. According to election officials, O. SubanAliyev and K. Mamyrkulov who passed the first round, have not the right to participate in the repeated elections. However, their contenders in the first round (Ishenbai Abdurazakov, Mukar Cholponbaeva and Taberik Akmatbaev) might take part. Runoff elections to the upper house from the constituency will be held together.

Four out of 84 elected independent deputies are journalists: Adakham Madumarov, Kabai Karabekov, Kanybek ImanAliyev and Oksana Malevanaya.

The presidential press service announces that President Askar Akayev has signed a special decree appointing Alikbek Jekshenkulov permanent Kyrgyz representative to international organizations based in Vienna. Jekshenkulov had been first deputy foreign minister before. Former representative Kamil Bayalinov was appointed public relations adviser to the president on 25 February.

Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev held a special governmental meeting in Bishkek on 14 March on preparations for the spring field-work. Minister of Agriculture Alexander Kostyk told the meeting that current situation is very difficult. According to him, there are only 300 tons of fuel for field-works and only 60 percent of needed seeds and 17 percent of needed fertilizers have been prepared.

About 500 people picketed the building of the Kara-Buura district administration of Talas Province on 13 March. They shouted: "Kulov, Kulov!" and "We do not need Alymbai Sultanov!" According to RFE/RL correspondent in Talas, protest meetings began the previous evening. Local election officials avoid any such meetings.

As of 13 March, no official results of the runoff elections in the district were announced, but according to local experts, the election commissions will announce soon that Felix Kulov lost the elections to Sultanov. Kulov collected in the first round elections on 20 February 36 percent of votes against Sultanov's 18 percent.

Kulov returned from Talas to Bishkek the morning of 13 March and announced that he had appealed to the district court demanding to find runoff results illegal. According to him, authorities campaigned against him and there were a lot of irregularities yesterday.

Head of the Kulov's election campaign team Emil Aliyev was detained in Bishkek on 9 March, 3 days before the runoffs. Spokesman of the Interior Ministry Joldoshbek Busurmankulov announced in Bishkek today that Aliyev is accused of misappropriation of $219,400 five years ago, when Aliyev was a businessman.

Kulov is former vice president of Kyrgyzstan and is now chairman of the opposition Ar-Namys (Dignity) Party, the third largest party of the country. However, the party was not allowed to take part in the elections and Kulov ran as independent. Aliyev is party deputy chairman.

Also, about 700 people picketed on 13 March the building of the Jalal-Abad regional administration in the town of Jalal-Abad. According to them, their candidate Kamchybek Tashiev collected too little amount of votes yesterday. They dispersed only after Tashiev announced today that he had appealed to court.

Team of OSCE observers, led by Marc Stevens, held a news conference in Bishkek on 13 March. According to them, Kyrgyz authorities did not fulfill their commitment to organize fair parliamentary elections and the elections were neither democratic nor fully lawful. The authorities interfered in he election campaign and the courts ruled mostly against opposition candidates before the runoffs. According to the observers, the parliamentary elections damaged the democratic image of Kyrgyzstan and there were more irregularities during the runoffs yesterday than in the first round elections on 20 February.

Observers mentioned particularly situation with the three opposition candidates: Daniyar Usenov, Felix Kulov and Omurbek Subanaliev. All of them collected most of votes in the first round and had been expected to win in the runoffs. Usenov and SubanAliyev were barred from elections just before the runoffs and authorities campaigned against Kulov using all the means.

Presidential press secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov announced in Bishkek on 13 March that OSCE Secretary General Jan Kubis would visit Kyrgyzstan on 15 March. He will be in Bishkek for one day and will discuss with President Askar Akayev results of the parliamentary elections and preparations to the presidential elections to be geld in December.

Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Sulaiman Imanbaev announced in Bishkek on 13 March that parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan were held in democratic and alternatively way. According to him, a new, democratic parliament has been formed in the country.

Presidential press secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov announced that President Askar Akayev praised results of the runoffs, held yesterday, saying "the elections were held in democratic spirit". According to Ibraimov, there were no big irregularities during the elections and it is not a bound for Kyrgyz authorities - they will do their best to hold the next elections, the presidential one, also fair and democratic in December.

President Askar Akayev and his spouse Mairam Akayeva voted on 11 March, a day before the official Election Day.

According to the CEC, 43 deputies in the Legislative Assembly (lower house) and 42 deputies in the People's Assembly (upper house) have already been elected. There will be additional elections for the remaining 5 seats. There are 105 seats in the bicameral Kyrgyz parliament and elections to 90 of them (to 45 seats in each house) were held from single mandate constituencies. According to the CEC, turnout was 61.86 percent yesterday.

Additional 15 seats in the Legislative Assembly are allotted to political parties. The CEC that Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan would receive 5 seats, the pro-governmental Union of Democratic Forces - 4 seats, the Women's Democratic Party - 2 seats, the Party of Afghan War Veterans - 2 seats, the moderate opposition Ata-Meken Party - 1 seat and the Party of My Country - 1 seat in the Assembly. Elections on party lists were held on 20 February.

According to an official of the Central Election Commission, seven opposition candidates won the parliamentary seats in the new Kyrgyz parliament: - Adaham Madumarov, one of the leaders of the opposition El (People) Party, - Alevtina Pronenko, also a leader of the El Party, - Absamat Masaliev, chairman of the Party of Communists, - Omurbek Tekebaev, chairman of the Ata-Meken (Fatherland) Party, - Dooronbek Sadyrbaev, leader of the Kairan El (Never-Do-Well People) Party, - Ishenbai Kadyrbekov, - Ismail Isakov.

All off them are expected to win in the 12 March runoffs as independent candidates. MasAliyev and Tekebaev won the elections as leaders of their parties too. However, no official results of the elections have ben announced yet.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced in Bishkek today that the run-off elections are held on 12 March for 68 seats in parliament. By 16:00 local time, about 49 percent of voters cats their ballots in Kyrgyzstan in average.

However, the CEC has not announced any official list of participants of today elections yet, even today.

There are 105 seats in Kyrgyz parliament. 15 seats are allotted to political parties. Remained 90 deputies (45 in each house of the by-cameral parliament) should be elected frim the single mandate constituencies. Elections are held in the 33 constituencies for the upper house (the People's Assembly) and in the 35 constituencies for the lower house (the Legislative Assembly) today.

Only 3 candidates won in the first round of elections held on 20 February. After it, some candidates passed the first round either dropped their candidacies or were barred from elections and 13 their rivals were found elected to parliament. So, 16 deputies have already been elected from single-mandate constituencies to date.

Also, the results of the first round elections in the two (# 24 Batken and #17 Issyk-Kul) constituencies (to the both parliamentary houses - 4 seats total) have been found illegal and additional elections would be held later.

In addition to it, situations in the two other (# 6 Tuenduek and # 25 Kadamjai) constituencies (to the upper house only - 2 seats total) are not clear yet. The two candidates sued their rivals and local courts barred them from runoff elections. The Supreme Court considers the cases today. If it upholds the decision, number of deputies, elected from single-mandate constituencies, would be raised to 18.

About 20 journalists waited today for President Askar Akayev near the # 24 school building in Bishkek today. Usually, Akayev meet journalists on the Election Day casting his ballot. There was Osmonakun Ibraimov, presidential press secretary, among the journalists waiting for the president.

Later, in about 30 minutes, an official of the regional election commission went out and announced that both President Askar Akayev and his wife Mairam Akayevs cast their ballots yesterday. He read aiut the text of Akayev's statement that he would vote earlier.

RFE/RL correspondent reports from the Talas Province that about 100 additional ballots are cast by local election official in almost every polling station of the region today. The officials say that owners of those ballots voted earlier.

Ishen Aitmambetov, supporter to opposition candidate Ishenbai Kadyrbekov, told RFE/RL correspondent in Naryn Province today that unknown people paid about 40-50 soms (about $1) to voters asking them to vote against Kadyrbekov. Aitmambetov have prepared several protest statement on the voters' reports but election officials rejected to sign them.

Roza Jumaeva of the Coalition of Kyrgyz Non-Governmental Organizations told RFE/RL correspondent today that she has already received 14 written protest on irregularities during the voting.

The election commission of the Tuenduek (# 6) constituency had decided to bar candidate Valeri Khon from the runoff elections and a local court upheld the decision yesterday. Janysh Rustenbekov, rival to Khon, could be found elected to parliament. Rustenbekov accused Khon of not including his 35,000-som cost car (about $760) in his income declaration. Khon had appealed to the Supreme Court and the latter considers the case today.

The similar case happens in the Kadamjai (# 25) constituency. The local court barred opposition candidate Iskhak MasAliyev from runoff elections earlier today, at about 00:30, local time. His rival M.Tairov had also accused I.MasAliyev of declaring his property properly and the court session was held in I.Masaliev's absense. Iskhak MasAliyev appealed to the Supreme Court and the latter is considering the case today, the Election Day.

The Supreme Court decided in Bishkek yesterday to bar opposition candidate Daniyar Usenov from the run-off elections. It upheld the decision by a local court which decided on 10 March that Usenov failed to mention in its income declaration his apartment in the town of Kara-Balta. According to Usenov, his wife sold the apartment in 1994 and other candidate to parliament included it in his own income declaration. The session was chaired by Jengish Dosmatov, deputy chairman of the Supreme Court. Three members of the Supreme Court left the court session yesterday, protesting the dercision.

Usenov was member of the old parliament and chairman of the opposition El (People) Party. His party was barred from the elections and Usenov ran from the singe mandate constituency.

Also on 11 March, the Supreme Court ruled that opposition candidate Omurbek Tekebaev has the right to take part in run-of elections. A district court barred him from elections on 9 March ruling that Tekebayev did not fill in his property declaration properly. Tekebaev had been sued with the same accusations earlier and won the case in a local court. Supporters of Tekebaev blocked the Bishkek-Osh highway near the village of Bazar-Korgon on 10 and 11 March, protesting the governmental actions against Tekebaev.

Tekebaev is chairman of the moderate opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) Party and was elected to parliament twice before - in 1990 and 1995.

Repeated parliamentary elections for the both parliamentary houses will be held in the two constituencies later.

The Issyk-Kul district court of the Issuk-Kul Province ruled on 7 March to find results of the elections in the Issyk-Kul (# 17) constituency, held on 20 February, invalid. According to the court, about one third of the ballots are found not valid. The Supreme Court has upheld the decision later. Opposition candidate Omurbek SubanAliyev collected most votes in the constituency to the lower house on 20 February. Runoff elections to the other house will be held together.

Voters of the Batken (# 24) constituency found this morning, coming to vote that all the polling stations were closed. The local election commission decided early this morning to hold run-off elections to the lower house in the constituency on 19 March. First round election results to the upper house were found illegal before. Opposition candidate Dosbol Nur Uulu runs for lower house in the constituency.

The Supreme Court upheld yesterday the decisions by the five local courts on elections. And additional 5 candidates have been found elected to parliament.

Kanybek Imanaliev, Zakir Sharapov, Khadjimurat Korkmazov, Joldoshbek Turdumambetov and Oksana Malevannaya became members of parliament yesterday due to their rivals-to-be in the run-offs barred from the elections.

So, the following candidates have already been deputies: 1. Turdakun Usubaliev, the Song-Kol (# 22) constituency, won in the firsts round. 2. Asankul Akayev, the Kemin (# 36) constituency, won in the first round. 3. Askarbek Shadiev, the Leilek (# 23) constituency, won in the first round. 4. Adakham Madumarov, the Uzgen (# 32) constituency, 5. Temir Sariev, the Shopokov (# 40) constituency, 6. Altai Borubaev, the University (# 1) constituency, 7. Mukanbek Alykulov, the Osh-3000 (# 35) constituency, 8. Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the Kara-Kulja (# 33) constituency, 9. Mukhamedjan Mamasaidov, the Aravan (# 28) constituency, 10. Askarbek Ermatov, the Jibek-Jol (# 7) constituency, 11. Isa Tokoev, the Togolok-Moldo (# 5) constituency, 12. Kanybek Imanaliev, the Jal (# 2) constituency, 13. Zakir Sharapov, the Kadamjai (# 25) constituency, 14. Joldoshbek Turdumambetov, the Toktogul (# 14) constituency, 15. Khadjimurat Korkmazov, the Alamedin (# 39) constituency, 16. Oksana Malevannaya, the Tuenduek (# 6) constituency.

Only three of them won the parliamentary seats through elections, the others become deputies due to either their rivals dropped their candidacies before runffs or due to court decisions.

Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief General Anatoli Kornukov arrived in Bishkek yesterday. President Askar Akayev signed on 10 March a special decree rewarding Kornukov with Kyrgyz Medal of Glory. According to the presidential press service, he is awarded for his contribution in strengthening military cooperation between Russia and Kyrgyzstan.