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15 October 2015

Kadir Malikov: New Kyrgyzstan parliament is oligarchic

Kadir Malikov: New Kyrgyzstan parliament is oligarchic

Voting at parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan took place on October 04.  Six political parties which managed to score at least 7 percent at the vote will have seats in the parliament.

Kyrgyzstan parliament is unicameral and it has 120 seats. Unlike most of the CIS countries, the body of legislative power has formally more importance in the country. According to some experts, Kyrgyzstan has a parliamentary political regime. There are specialists who consider Kyrgyzstan to be a presidential-parliamentary state. Yet, the government is formed by the parliament. This is not typical of the post-Soviet union countries.

Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan won the elections by receiving the votes of 26,8 percent eligible voters. The president of the county Almazbek Atambaev used to be the leader of this party. The party “Republika-Ata Zhurt” received 21.12 percent of votes. The party “Onuguu-Progress” is the top third voted for parties. 12,42 percent of the voters voted for it. 14 political parties participated in the elections’ campaign. Biometric system was used to prevent electoral fraud.

Kadir Malikov: New Kyrgyzstan parliament is oligarchic

“Islam Review” correspondent discussed the issue of Kyrgyzstan elections with the political expert and director of the independent centre “Religion, law and politics” Kadir Malikov.

- Were the elections transparent and fair enough?

- One thing we can say for sure – the elections took place. There were some cases of vote buying by means of giving the voters money and lobbying. Yet, it was not very common. The elections were quite transparent. As in 2010, the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) took less than a half of parliamentary seats. Overall, 6 parties went through went through: Onuguu-Progress, Repubika-Ata Zhurt, Bir-Bol, Ata-Meken, Kyrgyzstan.

The question is whether the elections were fair. They legally took place. Yet, they initially were held among the oligarchic parties. Introduction of the election deposit of 5 million soms did not let other parties take part in the elections. Only those with considerable financial resources were left. They spent a lot of money on buying votes. A number of parties gave money to people. They also promised a lot to people.

According to the official statistics, the parties spent almost 800 soms. This is twice more than they did in 2010. This is why most of the new parliament members are businessmen and wealthy officials. It would be fair enough to say that the new Kyrgyzstan parliament is oligarchic. We’ll see whether they will keep their promises or not.

- Voting turnout was estimated as 42 percent. Is this fine for Kyrgyzstan? Do you think that people are disappointed with democracy in the country? Is it the poor social and economic situation that makes this disappointment worse?

- The voting turnout was extremely low. This means that people are disappointed with politicians. However, there are no protests yet. Yet, it might change in the spring when new bills for electricity, gas and heating will arrive and the food cost will increase. It is quite clear that the economic situation in Kyrgyzstan is very bad.

Kadir Malikov: New Kyrgyzstan parliament is oligarchic

- Do you think coalition parliament will be easily formed?

- I do not see any problem with this. There is an issue with a technical side of this process. How are they going to share parliamentary seats? Are they going to keep the prime-minister or elect someone new? It is important as the prime minister position as a direct way to the presidency elections in 2017. There is not so much time left.

- In 2010, leaders of the parties tried to seek for support from abroad. Some of them went to Rusia, others to Turkey and Kazakhstan. Were there attempts to demonstrate parties’ foreign policy preferences this time?

- The parties did not demonstrate this. There were no open visits to foreign countries. Considering the situation in the Far East and Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan follows Russian political course. This is not as much about democracy but safety and stability in the country and the region overall.

Kadir Malikov – member of the experts council on interethnic and interreligious development under Kyrgystan President; director of the independent analytical centre “Religion, law and politics”, PhD in political studies and Islamic research (University of Madrid, Spain); MA graduate of the Islamic law faculty at the Jordan National University.

Prepared by Aidar Zinnatullin