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Interview: Former Kyrgyz President Denies Backing A Party

Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev

Five political parties received enough votes in Kyrgyzstan's October 10 elections to win parliamentary representation. Now they're engaged in negotiations to form a governing coalition.

RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reached former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev in Minsk, his home in exile, and asked him if he played a role in the elections.

RFE/RL: As you know, Kyryzstan just held historic elections. There are reports that you and your allies abroad secretly gave financial help to some of the political parties that won seats in the new parliament. Is this true?

Kurmanbek Bakiev: It's all a lie, God knows. Yes, representatives of some political parties contacted me asking for support and help. And I said, "You have to understand me." I didn't give any moral or material support to any party. Because many former officials who used to work with me are now in different parties -- they are in Ata-Jurt, in Ar-Namys, Respublica, and Butun Kyrgyzstan. And I said, "Look, you were not able to unite into one party. Now if I support one of you, [someone else] will be offended. People know all of you, they know everything about every politician, and they will make right decision." And that's what happened.

RFE/RL: Can you tell us which parties asked you for help?

Bakiev: No, I don't want to name them. If the leaders of those parties had contacted me directly, then I could say. But some other people contacted my people and spoke on behalf of those leaders, they didn't talk directly to me. Who knows how much truth there was to what they said, and how much of it was a lie. I don't want to hurt somebody with such information.

RFE/RL: Did these election results open the door to Kyrgyzstan for you? As you know, some leaders of Ata-Jurt announced right before the election that they plan to try and bring you back to the country.

Bakiev: First of all, I'm not thinking about going back to Kyrgyzstan at all. And secondly, those comments appeared right before elections, in response to some people's questions. I personally have no plans to return to Kyrgyzstan yet.

RFE/RL: Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev is one of the people who said that. What are your relations with him like?

Bakiev: I had good relations with Kamchybek Tashiev and the other ministers [in my government], including Babanov [leader of Respublica], Kulov [leader of Ar-Namys], [and] Sultanov [member of Ata-Jurt]. I worked with all of them. They were members of my government and worked under my leadership. Maybe sometimes I was tough on them when they failed, but that wasn't personal.

RFE/RL: Do you have personal friendship with some of these leaders?

Bakiev: I must say openly, I had no contact with those guys after I left Kyrgyzstan. I've held three press conferences in Belarus for journalists here in which I have declared that, from now on, I will not be involved in politics at all. It wouldn't be correct to do politics sitting here, and I have kept my word."

RFE/RL: Where are you now? There have been reports that you left Belarus and went to another country.

Bakiev: I have heard that. It's not true. I didn't go anywhere. I'm still in Belarus. I have to repeat again: I'm not planning to go back to Kyrgyzstan. It's too early to raise that issue.

RFE/RL: The leaders of some countries are saying that a parliamentary system won't work in Kyrgyzstan. Why do you think they think this?

Bakiev: Look, [first]: after the coup (in April) the Kyrgyz economy lost about 10 years worth of progress. Secondly, there will be lots of debates in parliament, which will make the government's job very difficult. Everything should be decided through a parliament. And nowadays, with the global [financial] crisis, sometimes government must take quick actions and make quick decisions. And this will be impossible in the parliamentary system. There will be lots of talking in Kyrgyzstan. In parliament they will say, 'We are democratic,' and keep talking.

RFE/RL: Do you have business in Belarus? How do you have money to live there?

Bakiev: I've been working as a manager in different places since 1985. Thanks to that, I have enough money to provide my family with everything. Thank God.