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Kyrgyz President Fires Energy Minister Amid Shortages

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has sacked Energy Minister Saparbek Balkybekov amid power shortages in the country.

Bakiev named Ilias Davydov, the deputy director of the state electric power company, to replace Balkybekov.

Balkybekov was criticized earlier this month by the pro-presidential Ak Jol (Best Path) Party for insufficiently preparing for the winter season.

Temir Sariev, leader of the opposition Ak Shumkar (White Falcon) party, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that the government lacks the vision to deal with the ongoing energy crisis in the country and the corrupt use of energy.

He said that while officials have cut electricity to ordinary customers in the capital, Bishkek, casinos and other such establishments always have electricity.

Bakiev on November 24 urged the government to reform the country's energy system in order to overcome the energy crisis.