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Kyrgyz President Asks Social Democrats To Form Coalition

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has given the Social Democratic Party that he formerly led the mandate to start negotiations on forming a new ruling coalition following last week's collapse of the government.

Under the law, the Social Democrats will have 15 working days to attempt to form the new coalition.

Because of the composition of parliament, the cooperation of five parties is required to form a coalition.

The Social Democrats were responsible for leading the talks that resulted in the former ruling coalition taking power in December.

The coalition collapsed last week after two parties -- Ar-Namys (Dignity) and Ata-Meken (Fatherland) -- quit the alliance over differences with Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov.

The government had come under pressure amid economic struggles, while Babanov is at the heart of corruption allegations that include accusations that he improperly received a racehorse from a Turkish businessman.

Based on reporting by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service