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Kyrgyz President Accuses Predecessor Of Trying To Turn Him Into 'Puppet'

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov (right) and his predecessor, Almazbek Atambaev

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has accused his predecessor Almazbek Atambaev of attempting to unduly influence him.

In an interview to the new agency published on November 16, Jeenbekov said Atambaev had tried to use others in order to pressure him.

"His attempts to turn me into a puppet leader through some third individuals, to direct my actions -- discredit him as a person, as an ex-president, as a fellow party member and associate," Jeenbekov said.

Jeenbekov is an ex-prime minister who was tapped by Atambaev as his favored successor in the October 2017 presidential election.

Atambaev, who was limited to a single six-year presidential term by the Central Asian country's constitution, initially kept a low profile after leaving office in November last year.

But following his election in March as head of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), of which Jeenbekov is also a member, he has publicly criticized Jeenbekov on several occasions.

Atambaev’s two close allies who also served as prime minister when he was president, Sapar Isakov and Jantoro Satybaldiev, were arrested in June on corruption charges.

Last month, Atambaev's former adviser, Ikramjan Ilmiyanov, was detained in Russia, brought to Kyrgyzstan, and also arrested on corruption charges.

In April, Jeenbekov fired several other Atambaev allies, including Prosecutor-General Indira Joldubaeva and former security chief Abdil Segizbaev, who had been criticized for a crackdown on opposition politicians and independent journalists.

Some politicians and lawmakers have called in recent months for an investigation of some of Atambaev's decisions while in office.

In early October, the Supreme Court ruled that the immunity enjoyed by the country's former presidents is unconstitutional.