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Majlis Podcast: Kyrgyzstan's 'Feuding Presidents' And The Risks Of Fallout

Former President Almazbek Atambaev (left) and the man who succeeded him, Sooronbai Jeenbekov (composite file photo)
Former President Almazbek Atambaev (left) and the man who succeeded him, Sooronbai Jeenbekov (composite file photo)

Just days before Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov marked one year in power, he faced a challenge from the man who did more than anyone else to help propel him to the presidency -- former President Almazbek Atambaev.

Information was leaked onto the Internet alleging that Jeenbekov had drastically overspent on campaigning for the presidency in violation of election rules.

Then Atambaev appeared on a television station that he has been linked to financially and gave a 90-minute interview, during which he criticized Jeenbekov's policies and said his former ally's time in office was in some ways worse than the presidencies of the Kyrgyz leaders chased from power in 2005 and 2010 -- Askar Akaev and Kurmanbek Bakiev, respectively.

Kyrgyzstan has gained a well-earned reputation as a country with a lively, sometimes too lively, domestic political scene.

Does a very public rift between Kyrgyzstan's current president and his immediate predecessor signal the beginning of a new period of political tension or is there a chance for reconciliation?

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on the recent aggravation in ties between Jeenbekov and Atambaev.

Joining the debate, we had Erica Marat, an associate professor at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. and author of many articles on Kyrgyzstan, and Bakyt Beshimov, who is currently a professor at Northeastern University in Boston and a former member of the Kyrgyz parliament. And, since I'm a big devotee of Kyrgyzstan's domestic politics, I had something to say as well.

Majlis Podcast: Have Kyrgyz Leaders Reached The Point Of No Return?
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.​

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.


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