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Kyrgyz Report: January 4, 2000

4 January 2000

Founder of the El (Bei-Bechara) Party, Melis Eshimkanov told RFE/RL in Bishkek on 4 January that the party will not join any bloc before the parliamentary elections set for 20 February. Also, according to Eshimkanov, the party sent letters both to the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the Justice Ministry asking them to allow the party to run its members for parliament on a party list. Eshimkanov said that the party has changed its regulations, bringing it in accordance with the Election Code passed in parliament in 1999.

The CEC barred the party from elections last November on the recommendation of the Justice Ministry, and the party lost a legal case against the ministry twice in a district court. The court upheld its ruling even after a request by the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan. According to the ministry, the party, founded in 1995, failed to specify in its regulations that it would run its members fort parliament.

Chairman of the Erkin Kyrgyzstan (ErK) Party, MP Tursunbai Bakir Uulu announced in Bishkek on 4 January that 30 percent of its candidates to parliament would be women. The party will hold it congress in Bishkek on 5 January. According to Bakir Uulu, a possible referendum on changing the power limits of both the president and parliament will be discussed at the congress besides election issues.

Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Bishkek announced in Bishkek on 4 January that a large group of OSCE observers to Kyrgyz elections would arrive in Bishkek on 10 January. They will attend each constituency of the country during the elections.

Executive director of the Coalition of Kyrgyz Non-Governmental Organizations Toloikan Ismailova announced in Bishkek on 4 January that they would issue 200,000 copies of leaflets, answering most questions by voters on the eve of the elections. The leaflets will be printed with the help of international organizations. 100,000 leaflets will be in the Kyrgyz language, 90,000 of in Russian, and 10,000 in Uzbek. The coalition has also prepared 180 independent observers to the elections.

The State Agency on Demography and Immigration announced in Bishkek on 4 January that there are 60 to 90 Chechen refugees in Kyrgyzstan now. They fled from Chechnya since last October, but none of them have received official refugee status.

The National Bank announced in Bishkek on 4 January that it has received $17.2 million from the Asian Development Bank recently. This is the first part of a 35-million-dollar ADB loan for reforming the financial and banking systems of the country. $1 million of it will be used to conduct an international audit of Kyrgyz commercial banks.

The Pervomai district court ruled in Bishkek on 3 January that the Ar Namys (Dignity) Party has no right to run its members to parliament on a party list. The session of the court was chaired by Judge Nellia Aseinova.

The Central Election Commission did not allow the party to nominate its members to the next parliamentary elections, to be held on 20 February, on the recommendation of the Justice Ministry. The ministry said that according to the Election Code of Kyrgyzstan, any party founded later than one year before the date of the parliamentary elections has no right to prepare its party list for election.

The party has sued the ministry saying that the Election Code passed in parliament earlier in 1999 refers to the old Law on Public Organizations, passed in 1991. However, the Ar Namys Party was founded in August 1999 according to the new Law on Political Parties adopted in 1999, and there is no restriction for parties to take part in elections.

According to Emil Aliyev of the party, the party will appeal against the ruling to the Supreme Court. A congress of the party will be held in Bishkek on 4 January. The Ar Namys is the third largest party of Kyrgyzstan. The second party, the opposition El (Bei-Bechara) Party, has also been barred from the election and has already lost a legal case against the Justice Ministry. According to the ministry, the party failed to specify in its founding documents that it would run its members to parliament. The party was founded in 1995.

The Central Election Commission announced in Bishkek on 3 January that a computerized system of counting ballots is being prepared for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. It now being tested in the 4 constituencies in Capital City of Bishkek, and computer connections with all forty-five constituencies of the country will be established by 20 January.

Chairwoman of the coalition of non-governmental organizations of Kyrgyzstan, Toloikan Ismailova announced in Bishkek on 3 January that the coalition has prepared 180 independent observers to the elections and they are now heading to the regions. They will inform the headquarters of the coalition in Bishkek every 10 days on preparations to the elections and shortcomings during the elections.

The presidential press service announced in Bishkek on 3 January that President Askar Akayev sent a telegram of congratulations to Vladimir Putin of Russia on 31 December. The same day, Akayev sent a telegram to Boris Yeltsin, thanking him for his enormous contributions in strengthening relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. According to Akayev, Yeltsin has secured the irreversibility of democratic reforms in Russia.

The opposition Ar Namys party announced in Bishkek on 4 January that Yeltsin had resigned only to guarantee the presidency in Russia for Vladimir Putin. Chairman of the Party of Kyrgyz Communists, the largest party in the country, Absamat MasAliyev announced in Bishkek on the same day that Yeltsin should have resigned much earlier. According to him, Russia had been ready for his resignation long ago. However, MasAliyev says Yeltsin's resignation could have a negative impact on the integration processes in the CIS. MPs Jypar Jeksheev and Tursunbai Nakir Uulu announced in Bishkek on 31 December that Yeltsin's resignation shows that there is more democracy in Russia than in Kyrgyzstan.

The Boordoshtor association of Tajik refugees in Kyrgyzstan announced in Bishkek on 4 January that there are still 62,000 Tajik refugees in the country now. According to the association, Kyrgyz citizens should help the association build three hostels for Tajik refugees, which should be constructed in the Capital City of Bishkek, in Osh City and in the village of Uluu Karamyk in the south.

It was announced in Bishkek last October that there were about 11,000 registered Tajik refugees in Kyrgyzstan to date. And some 2,000 of them returned to Tajikistan in 1999.

The Akyl publishing house announced in Bishkek on 3 January that it would release the two books soon. One of them is a bulky book on the creative life of President Askar Akayev. The other one is entitled "Mairam Akayeva is Mother Tereza of Kyrgyzstan". First Lady Mairam Akayeva is a chairwoman of the Meyerim charity fund.

Finance Minister Sultan Mederov held a news conference in Bishkek on 30 December. According to him, the real income of Kyrgyz citizens decreased by 4 to 5 percent in 1999 compared with 1998. At the same time, the state budget draft for next year makes no provision for increasing salaries. According to Mederov, the government will pay all back wages, pensions and other social allowances by 15 January.

Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev held in Bishkek on 30 December a special governmental meeting on energy security of the country. He said the current governmental program on ensuring energy security of the country had been prepared in a soviet style and the country needs a new program for the next 5 years, which should take in consideration both Kyrgyz interests and the real interests of and neighboring countries.

It was announced at the meeting that Kyrgyzstan bought fuel for about $600 million from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia in the last 8 years. This includes $390 million for 10.2 million cubic meters of natural gas from Uzbekistan and $115 million for 5.3 million tons of coal from Kazakhstan. The country has also bought liquefied gas for $13 million. Coal industry output is declining in Kyrgyzstan and the last gas crisis in November-December damaged the giant glass works in Tokmok, the cement plant in Kant and the Bakai alcohol enterprise in Kara-Balta seriously.

It was decided at the meeting that local governments should prepare in a month their own programs on the use of local fuel reserves and on constructing small hydro power stations. Also, all the boiler-houses in Bishkek working on gas currently should be shifted to other fuel.

Leaders of the Social Democratic Party, the Party of Economic Revival and the Birimdik Party held a joint meeting in Bishkek on 30 December. It was announced after the meeting that the three parties have formed a bloc "The Unity of Democratic Forces". They formed a joint party list for the forthcoming parliamentary elections set for 20 February. Leaders of the three parties occupy the first three places in the joint lists. All the parties are pro-governmental ones.

A court official told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 30 December that the procurator has required death sentences for the three people alleged in organizing and implementing the assassination of Yusup Kolbaev, prominent Kyrgyz businessman, that happened two and a half years ago.

Former colonel of police Talant Duishembiev is accused of organizing the assassination. He had been director of the anti-criminal center at the National Academy of Sciences before the arrest in 1997. Kachan Abdrashitov, a criminal, and Valeri Kurkin, a policeman, are accused of implementing the assassination. Four other people, most of them are policemen, are required to be sentenced to 5 to 15 years of imprisonment.

Kolbaev, head of the Lukoil-Kyrgyzstan Company, was shot to dead in front of his house in Bishkek on 21 March 1997. The trial began in Bishkek on 23 November and the judge is Dastan Aijigitov, member of the Military Court of Kyrgyzstan. It is expected that the court will rule on 5 January.