BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz parliamentary party faction has decided to replace longtime leader Feliks Kulov as its leader in the legislature, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Kyrgyz parliament spokesman Shaiyrbek Mamatoktorov told RFE/RL on September 13 that 15 of the 25 deputies representing Ar-Namys (Dignity) in parliament said they want Kulov -- who founded Ar-Namys in 1999 -- to be replaced by parliament deputy Kamila Talieva.
The Ar-Namys faction members also decided that the faction's leadership in the parliament should rotate on an annual basis.
Kulov will apparently remain the head of the party outside of parliament.
Kulov said on September 13 that he does not agree with the faction's decision. He said the faction represents the entire Ar-Namys party and therefore only the party as a whole has the right to make such decisions.
Kulov, 62, held several senior leadership posts after Kyrgyzstan became independent in 1991, including vice president and mayor of the capital, Bishkek.
Kulov was sentenced in 2001 to 10 years in jail for abuse of office but was released from jail by triumphant protesters during the Tulip Revolution that culminated in the ouster of President Askar Akaev in March 2005.
He later served as prime minister, stepping down from that post in 2008.
The Ar-Namys party is regarded as conservative and pro-Russian. In the 2010 parliamentary ballot it garnered almost 8 percent of the vote, winning 25 of the 120 parliament mandates.
Read more in Kyrgyz here