Following unproductive negotiations among the five parties that won seats in last month's parliamentary elections, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva used her powers today to pressure them to form a coalition government.
Otunbaeva instructed the Social Democratic Party, holder of the second most seats in parliament, which held its first session on November 10, to lead talks on establishing a majority in parliament.
"The president of the Kyrgyz Republic, Roza Isakovna Otunbaeva, today on November 11 gave a mandate of forming a coalition in parliament to Almazbek Atambaev, leader of the Social Democratic faction of the SDPK party in parliament," presidential press spokesman Sultan Kanazarov explained to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service.
"According to the constitution, after giving the mandate of forming a majority coalition in parliament, this kind of coalition should be formed within 15 working days," he said.
Social Democratic Party member Chynybai Tursunbekov said talks are already well under way with other parties.
"First of all, we have started talks of forming the coalition with the Respublika party because we had a certain agreement with them from the very beginning," Tursunbekov said. "When talks about all aspects of [the coalition] are finished with Respublika, we can start talks with Ata-Meken. We already made some suggestions to Ata-Meken. We will draw our plan of action based on the results of these negotiations."
By November 27?
Otunbaeva made clear that should the Social Democrats fail to meet the 15-day deadline, the task of forming a coalition would pass to the Ata-Meken party, which received the least number of seats in parliament. Ata-Meken would also have 15 days to form a majority in parliament.
The Social Democratic Party and Ata-Meken are seen as the reformist parties in parliament and allies of Otunbaeva, so the president's decision to give these two parties the chance to form a coalition seems natural. If neither party is able to form a coalition, then the task falls to all members of parliament, which must name a prime minister who would then name a cabinet. Should that fail, according to the constitution, parliament would be dissolved and new elections would have to be called, an outcome few want to see.
Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebaev said today he expects the Social Democratic Party would be able to form a coalition on the first try.
Otunbaeva said in her address to incoming deputies on November 10 that she wanted to see a coalition and a new prime minister named by November 27. While some have criticized the delay in forming a new government, others have pointed out that Kyrgyzstan's decision to move from a presidential to a parliamentary system of government sets an important precedent in a region known for authoritarian leadership.
Analysts say the wait is worth it as long as the result produces an enduring democratic system.