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'Too Much Politics' In Kyrgyzstan


President Roza Otunbaeva (right) believes Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev's government can survive Kyrgyzstan's traditionally turbulent spring.

President Roza Otunbaeva (right) believes Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev's government can survive Kyrgyzstan's traditionally turbulent spring.

Kyrgyzstan's President Roza Otunbaeva is confident the country's ruling coalition will survive, despite growing speculation that it is on the verge of collapse.

Otunbaeva provided that assessment as Ata-Jurt, the former party of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev, held a closed-door meeting today to discuss its future with the coalition. In the end, Ata-Jurt decided to remain on board -- for now.

Ata-Jurt is the largest member of the coalition, representing 28 seats. But some 19 lawmakers from Ata-Jurt have threatened a walk-out unless the two other coalition partners, the Social Democrats and Respublika, accept their proposals.

Ata-Jurt's proposals include amendments to the original terms of the formation of the coalition as well as "urgent issues necessary for stabilization of social and political situation in the country."

They call on prime minister to resign "within 10 days after Kyrgyzstan's presidential election is announced if he decides to run in the election." Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev and Ata-Jurt leader Kamchibek Tashiev are widely seen as potential contenders for the presidency.

Ata-Jurt's proposals also include a somewhat vague suggestion for "the formation of a broad-based coalition government including representatives of those political forces that have a substantial influence on the sociopolitical situation."

Atambaev has said Ata-Jurt's suggestions are under review and that he supports some of the party's proposals. But others, he says, are unconstitutional.

Can Coalition Survive The Spring?

Some political experts argue that even if the coalition were to survive its latest crisis, it won't be long before another crack will emerge between the coalition partners.

It was an unlikely union in the first place, coming together after weeks of wrangling among the five parties who gained seats in the October elections intended to create Central Asia's first parliamentary democracy.

In the end, the coalition was forged in December among Atambaev's Social Democratic Party; Ata-Jurt, whose power base is in the south, where pro-Bakiev sympathies run high; and Respublika, whose ranks are filled with young entrepreneurs.

President Otunbaeva said today the country had established a system of checks and balances that truly allows different branches of government to limit the powers of others.

Working under a system that is accepted across the political spectrum could be crucial to the government surviving through the spring, a traditional time of protest in Kyrgyzstan that some observers fear could test the fledgling government.

After all, the Kyrgyz are known as the most politically active people in Central Asia. The country's two post-Soviet presidents were ousted in popular uprisings.

Prominent Kyrgyz sociologist Khusein Isaev, however, tells RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that the country won't see street protests this April.

Noting that the Kyrgyz successfully held free elections, and amended their constitution, Isaev says that "people see that the authorities are trying to fulfill their promises, and Kyrgyzstan is gradually moving toward parliamentary democracy."

Otunbaeva, meanwhile, recently wrote in her blog that people should take time to enjoy the good things in life.

"There is too much politics in our lives nowadays. Let's just enjoy life, let's just read poetry," she wrote.

-- Farangis Najibullah

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