BISHKEK -- The Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), led by former President Almazbek Atambaev, has announced its decision to join the opposition.
SDPK spokeswoman Kunduz Joldubaeva told reporters on March 18 that the party made the decision so that "it could criticize the government and propose other ways for the country’s development."
Joldubaeva said that the party will hold its next congress on April 6.
She did not indicate whether the SDPK would quit the ruling coalition.
The SDPK is the largest political party within the coalition that also comprises the Kyrgyzstan Party, Ata-Meken (Fatherland), and Onuguu-Progress.
The party has been in crisis for a year after party members launched the "SDPK Without Atambaev" campaign in the wake of a rift between Atambaev and incumbent President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who was elected in October 2017 as an SDPK candidate.
On March 17, Atambaev issued a public apology for helping to bring Jeenbekov to power, likening his one-time ally to an autocrat.
The SDPK deputy chairwoman, lawmaker Irina Karamushkina, said last month that Atambaev will lead the party's list of candidates for next year's parliamentary elections.