The president of Kyrgyzstan has advised election authorities to investigate the results of a disputed parliament race that has stoked chaotic unrest in the capital of Bishkek, where protesters stormed government headquarters.
President Sooronbay Jeenbekov called on the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) to “carefully” review any possible violations in the contested race, suggesting the government could still void the result, while also urging a return to calm and the rule of law amid ongoing protests.
“Calmness in the state, stability of society are more valuable than any deputy mandate,” the president said in a televised address. “I suggested that the Central Election Commission carefully investigate the violations and, if necessary, annul the election results.”
I urge the leaders of political parties to calm their supporters and move them away from their places of concentration. I call on all my compatriots to keep the peace and not give in to the calls of the provocative forces. The peace of our country and the security of our society are the most important things.
Opposition activists have accused the government of vote-buying and intimidation during last weekend’s parliamentary election, taking to the streets to protest over what they’ve deemed a stolen race, demanding a new vote. The preliminary results showed only four parties (out of 16) passing the seven-percent threshold, two of them considered pro-government.
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The demonstrations have grown hectic, seeing activists clash with security forces and even storm the White House in Bishkek, which houses both the parliament and the president’s offices. Some demonstrators ignited fires.
Protesters also stormed the office of the mayor of Bishkek, Aziz Surakmatov, on Monday night, according to a report from local outlet 24.kg, which cited the mayor. While the number of demonstrators occupying the building remains unclear, between 5,000 and 6,000 protesters were amassed in the capital, TASS reported.
As violent unrest and clashes continue to grip the city, some 600 have been injured in total, and one has been killed, according to local health authorities.
While Jeenbekov gave the first indication that the election result could be overturned during his Tuesday address, he also slammed the demonstrators for disrupting “peaceful life,” saying they had attempted to “illegally seize state power.” Nonetheless, he claimed that he had ordered security forces “not to open fire or spill blood, so as not to endanger the life of a single citizen.”
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Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian state that gained independence in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The country has been marred by a series of successive coups over the last 15 years, seeing its first president, Askar Akayev, ousted in 2005’s ‘Tulip Revolution.’ Another coup in April 2010 saw then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev toppled in a violent upheaval.
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