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Kyrgyz Report: February 1, 2000

1 February 2000

Nurkamil Abdyvasiev of the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced in Bishkek 1 February that the CEC is now considering the possibility of two political parties and one party bloc taking part in the parliamentary elections set for 20 February. They are the Party of the Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan (PDMK), the Asaba Party and the Manas bloc (which unites the People��Republican Party and the Party to Support the Poor, Agricultural and Industrial Workers). According to Abdyvasiev, they could be barred from the election because the CEC as well as the Prosecutor General Office have received a lot of protest appeals from members of these parties.

Some members of the PDMK say that the last congress of the party was held without inviting its 12 regional leaders. Some regional leaders of the People��Republican Party say that leader of the bloc Tashkul Kereksizov had also held a founding meeting of the bloc without regional leaders. Some members of the Asaba Party also say that a regional congress of the party in the Osh province was held with violations of party rules.

An official of the PDMK told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 1 February that the CEC refused to show them the protest appeals. According to him, the action of the CEC is an interference intoparty internal matters and the party is able to report to nation on its last congress if it receives a time on National Radio and TV Corporation. The PDMK is now holding a poll among its members, asking whether the last congress of the party was held fair and open.

The CEC announced in Bishkek on 25 January that 10 political parties and 2 political blocs had been registered to take part in the forthcoming parliamentary election on a proportional system. And the Asaba and PDMK parties as well as the Manas bloc were on the list.

The PDMK has co-opted some prominent Kyrgyz politicians on its party list. Chairman of the opposition Ar-Namys Party Felix Kulov occupies first place in the list following by PDMK Chairman Jypar Jeksheev. Kulov's party cannot take part in the elections on its own due to a rule that only parties registered prior to one one year before the elections could take part.

According to CEC Chairman Sulaiman Imanbaev, 605 candidates have been registered so far for the elections. 150 of them represent political parties and 455 of them are independent candidates running from single mandate constituencies.

Presidential press secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov gave an interview to RFE/RL on 1 February and commented on the situation in Kyrgyzstan on the eve of the parliamentary elections. According to him, the presidential administration will try to hold the elections in a fair and democratic way. That is why the administration does not interfere in the activities of the Central Election Commission. Ibraimov discussed the situation with OSCE representative in Bishkek Erzy Wenclaw and the two agreed on the most issues discussed.

However, sometimes some local authorities and even the police act too hard against opposition politicians. Due to their undemocratic activities, some heads of local administrations have been dismissed recently. Ibraimov did not elaborate. According to him, the last actions of the Interior Ministry against Chairman of the El (Bei-Bechara) Party and MP Daniyar Usenov were too strong but law is law and a legal case against him could not be stopped even if the plaintiff changed his mind.

Usenov is accused of beating businessman Kengesh Mukaev at the Manas airport, and the case began in 1996. The Pervomai district court of Bishkek closed the case last October due to a statement by Mukaev that he had nothing against Usenov. Prosecutors have renewed the case on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Usenov is a member of the current parliament and was registered on 15 January as a candidate to the new parliament. According to Kyrgyz laws, a registered candidate cannot be tried. Usenov has been in the hospital since 19 January and his hospital ward was guarded by police from 19 till 24 January. On 25 January, he was forced to come to court and the trial against him began. He fell ill during the court session and was delivered to the hospital intensive therapy ward the same day, and the trial was interrupted.

Defense Minister Esen Topoev announced in Bishkek on 1 February that the 5 CIS countries would hold joint military exercises in Tajikisistan in March. Troops from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will take part. The main aim of the exercises is to prepare for a possible invasion of insurgents in the spring. Several hundred rebels invaded Kyrgyzstan last August, taking about 25 hostages. The crisis lasted about 2 months and 27 Kyrgyz citizens were killed during this time.

The Defense Ministry announced in Bishkek on 1 February that four new frontier posts have been formed in the Batken province of the country in the south. They are the Batken, Leilek, Chong-Alai and Haidarken posts. About 800 people have been recruited to serve at the posts, and most of them are retired Kyrgyz servicemen who served in the Russian border guard service before.

Department head of the government Nurilya Joldosheva announced in Bishkek on 1 Feburary that there are more than 17,000 registered small and medium-sized private firms in Kyrgyzstan now. 8,248 of them were active in 1999 during which time their production amounted to 16,500-million-soms (about $370 million). This is equal to 34.4 percent of the gross domestic product of the country in 1999. Also, there are now about 6,000 farms in the country and 97,000 citizens have patents to be engaged in private trade.

Chairman of the Kyrgyz Union of Journalists Abdykadyr Sultanbaev announced on 1 February that a seminar entitled "Media and Image of Kyrgyzstan" would be held in Bishkek on 4 February. Organizers of the seminar are the Union of Journalists, the presidential press service and the OSCE office in Kyrgyzstan. According to presidential press secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov, representatives of all media organizations of the country are invited to the seminar.

Director of the anti-drug center in Bishkek Nikolai Yurchenko told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 1 February that younger people are becoming drug addicts in Kyrgyzstan. According to him, 56 to 79 percent of young people who took part in the last poll held by the center said they are using drugs to some degree.

Yurchenko says the average age of addicts in Kyrgyzstan was 23 to 25 years early in the 1990s, and this has now been changed to 12 to 15-year-old people. Early in the 1990, 90 percent of addicts used hashish, and about 50 percent of current addicts use heroin.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Kyrgyz Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev visited Great Britain on 26-28 January. He met with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and discussed bilateral relations between the two states. Robin Cook said that Great Britain supports democratic changes and economic reforms in Kyrgyzstan. Three documents were signed during the visit: a memorandum on cooperation between the customs services and the two memorandums on understanding on cooperation in tourism and security problems.

According to the presidential press service, head of the presidential administration Misir Ashurkulov received in Bishkek on 31 January a delegation of the World Bank. It was announced at the meeting that Kyrgyzstan would receive a 35-million-dollar World Bank loan for 40 years with an annual interest of 0.75 percent. The loan will be used for structural changes in economics, and reforms in the tax system. First part of the loan would be received later in 2000. An additional 5-million-dollar technical loan from the World Bank will be used for reforms in the public utility system.

Head of the Bishkek office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Erzy Wenclaw announced on 29 January that its 6-member monitoring team in Bishkek and 10 more observers in the regions had begun to monitor preparations for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. More than 100 observers from different OSCE-member countries will attend the poll on 20 February.

Emil Aliyev of the Ar-Namys opposition party told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 29 January that they would appeal to the Prosecutor General protesting biased activity of the Central Election Commission (CEC). Pro-government papers and the National TV Corporation continue slandering party chairman Felix Kulov without being warned. The party has appealed to both the CEC and the media leadership but there have been no changes. Kulov is registered as a candidate for parliament from a single-mandate constituency as well as Number One on a party list of the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan.

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (lower parliamentary house) Usup Mukambaev announced on 29 January that he would not run for the new parliament. He rejected his nomination from the Karakol (#19) constituency. Speaker of the other house, the People's Assembly, Abdygany Erkebaev is running for parliament from a single mandate district as well as being Number Two on a party list of a pro-government bloc of parties. About 60 members of the current parliament are running for 105 seats in parliament.

Director of the Bishkek City heating and power station Lev Vasilyev announced on 29 January that the station had again been shifted from black oil to natural gas. According to him, the Kyrgyzenergo government company has begun to receive for the station 15,000 cubic meters of gas per hour from the Bakhytjan Company of neighboring Kazakhstan.

The station shifted to black oil on 14 January due to Uzbekistan��decreased gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan from 60,000 cubic meters of gas per hour to 30,000. According to Vasilyev, the Kyrgyzgas government company now receives 40,000 cubic meters of gas per hour and the Kant cement plant receives additional 10,000 cubic meters per hour. Due to the lack of gas, some areas of Bishkek City were without heating for about two weeks.

Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev held a special meeting of the State Commission on Foreign Investments on 29 January. It was announced at the meeting that the National air company Kyrgyz Aba Joldory is unable to repay the 5,500-million-yen loan taken from the Japanese fund for international cooperation. The money has been used for reconstruction of the Manas airport in Bishkek. According to Muraliev, the Kyrgyz Aba Joldory should be privatized as soon as possible.

The National Social Fund announced in Bishkek on 29 January that it would collect 2,860 million soms (about $60 million) in 2000 to pay pensions and social allowances. This is more than 474 million soms more than planned for 1999. However, the fund now owes pensioners about 75 million soms for pensions in 1999 in spite of the fact that the fund collected 2,412 million soms in 1999 (more than planned by 26 million soms).

The interior ministry announced in Bishkek on 29 January that Lyudmila Burdyaeva, wife of first secretary of the Russian embassy Yuri Burdyaev, was killed in front of her house in Bishkek on 26 January. She was not robbed. According to the ministry, it was not a politically motivated killing.