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Kulov Won't Be Reappointed Kyrgyz Prime Minister

Feliks Kulov in Bishkek in October (RFE/RL) January 25, 2007 -- Feliks Kulov, the acting prime minister of Kyrgyzstan and the other half of the so-called "tandem" with President Kurmanbek Bakiev, suffered a serious defeat in parliament today as he lost a vote to be reappointed to the post.

Lawmakers voted 38 to 25 to reject Kulov's nomination for the post of prime minister, the second rejection by parliament in a week. Following the vote, a presidential spokesman said Bakiev will not forward Kulov's name again.

New Name To Be Submitted

Just hours after parliament rejected Kulov's candidacy for the second time since January 18, presidential spokesman Nurlanbek Shakiev told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that there are no plans to nominate him again.

Kulov and his government resigned on December 19 amid the crisis on the adoption of a new constitution that reduced the powers of the president.

"As a result [President Bakiev], with the goal of staving off any further aggravation of the situation in the country, has expressed his decision to forward a new candidate [for prime minister]," he said. "At the same time, taking into consideration the role of the tandem [of Kulov-Bakiev], the president has proposed two high-level government posts to Kulov. In turn, Kulov has said that he does not at this time plan to take up any new post."

Bakiev and Kulov formed the tandem -- pledging support to one another -- ahead of the 2005 July presidential elections to avoid running against each other for the presidency. Bakiev was easily elected and immediately moved to make Kulov the prime minister.

Opposition lawmaker Omurbek Tekebaev said the tandem had lost its significance following a massive rally in Bishkek in November that forced Bakiev and the government to adopt a new version of the constitution.

Insignificant Duo?

"The agreement on the tandem lost its relevance in November in as much as the basic conditions for the tandem were the immediate introduction of democratic constitutional reforms," Tekebaev said. "The participants in the tandem, [President Bakiev and Prime Minister Kulov], did not fulfill those conditions and then many thousands of people demanded constitutional reforms and so the authors of those reforms [that were made] are the people."

Kulov and his government resigned on December 19 amid the crisis on the adoption of a new constitution that reduced the powers of the president. Kulov said he was acting in the best interests of the country. But Shakiev, while saying Bakiev would not forward Kulov's candidacy for the post of prime minister again, also said Kulov seemed sure he would be accepted as prime minister had his candidacy come before parliament again.

"After that [rejection of his candidacy today], acting Prime Minister Feliks Kulov said that there are were some misunderstandings [in the parliament] and that he was expecting a different result," he said. But it didn't happen, unfortunately, and [Kulov said] if the president would submit him a third time he was confident of a positive result."

Bakiev said he will forward a new candidate for prime minister on January 26 but gave no indication of who that might be.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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