Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev might be reaping what he had sown when he was in the top office. Toward the end of his six-year term, he was outspoken and often his political opponents suffered legal setbacks.
Atambaev has been out of office since late November 2017 and, on May 17, parliament deputy Iskhak Masaliev of the Onuguu-Progress party proposed lifting immunity for former presidents. The idea received support from 87 of the 101 deputies present (Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has 120 seats).
The move comes as the investigation into missing funds for the Bishkek Thermal Power Plant (TPP) continues.
China provided Kyrgyzstan with a $386 million loan to overhaul and modernize the plant. The deal was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2013. But an accident at the Bishkek TPP in late January 2018 -- the coldest period of the winter -- took the plant completely out of operation for several days.
A subsequent investigation, still in progress, has already determined millions of dollars from the loan were either misspent or vanished and the trail of the investigation is leading to Atambaev-era officials.
RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on Atambaev’s future and what moves against him could mean for Kyrgyzstan’s future.
Participating in the conversation from Bishkek, we had Edil Baisalov, political activist and noted political analyst and commentator as well as a former Kyrgyz official. From Washington we were joined by Erica Marat, associate professor and director of the Homeland Defense Fellowship Program at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University and the author of numerous works on Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan’s domestic politics have always fascinated me, so I had some things to say also.
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