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Kyrgyz President Accepts Government's Resignation

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Joomart Otorbaev at his approval by the Kyrgyzstan parliament as new prime minister in Bishkek in April 2014

Joomart Otorbaev at his approval by the Kyrgyzstan parliament as new prime minister in Bishkek in April 2014

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Joomart Otorbaev and his government.

Otorbaev submitted his resignation on April 23 amid renewed controversy over the operations of the country's largest gold mine, Kumtor.

The three-party majority coalition has 15 days to nominate a new prime minister to the legislature.

Otorbaev serves as interim prime minister until a new one is approved.

The Kyrgyz government currently owns about one-third of the Kumtor Gold Company -- which operates the mine -- while Canada's Centerra Gold owns the rest.

A 2003 deal gave the Kyrgyz government a 17 percent stake in the operations, with Centerra controlling the rest.

The agreement was renegotiated in 2009, giving the Kyrgyz government nearly a 33 percent stake.

Opposition parties and locals have called for the mine's nationalization, leading to talks on establishing a joint venture with a 50-50 split in ownership.

Otorbaev's recent proposal to increase government's representation on Centerra's board of directors instead of forming the long-discussed new joint venture to run Kumtor has harshly criticized in parliament.

With reporting by dpa
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