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Kyrgyz Deputies Appoint Interim President, Government

Feliks Kulov speaking in Bishkek after the parliament was stormed Bishkek, 24 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An emergency session of Kyrgyzstan's lower house of parliament named opposition deputy Ishenbai Kadyrbekov as its new speaker and the republic's interim president.

Another opposition figure, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, will head a Coordination Council of the Kyrgyzstan People Unity, which will act as a provisional government. Earlier, the chairwoman of Kyrgyzstan's Constitutional Court, Cholpon Bayekova, said on National Television that Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaev had resigned.

Also, Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court issued a verdict annulling results of the controversial parliamentary elections. The parliamentary mandate was therefore returned to the outgoing parliament.

Bakiyev said on National Television that President Askar Akaev has left the country. His whereabouts are not known and he has not officially resigned yet, according to reports. The Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States, Baktybek Abdrisaev, said in Washington that Akaev has not resigned and that the events taking place in Kyrgyzstan in are anticonstitutional.

The parliamentary mandate is therefore returned to the outgoing parliament, which has started an emergency session tonight.

Weeks of antigovernment protests over disputed elections culminated today as protesters stormed and occupied the presidential compound in the capital Bishkek.

Prominent Oppositionist Released

Feliks Kulov, a prominent Kyrgyz opposition figure who was freed today after being in jail since 2000, told reporters the opposition will try to restore order by tomorrow: "We will try to [establish order in Bishkek] by tomorrow morning. I will do all I can, although you understand that I have been disconnected from these matters, from the [security] forces and personnel for five years [while in jail]."

Opposition leaders pleaded in vain with looters to stop smashing furniture and looting supplies they found in government offices and stores in Bishkek.

But Bakiev did not say where Akaev went.

(RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service/agency reports)


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For more on the Kyrgyz elections, see RFE/RL's dedicated website Kyrgyzstan Votes 2005