Protesters against the results of Kyrgyzstan’s October 4 parliamentary elections have taken over control of the country’s White House, which contains parliament and the presidential administration. They also have seized the building containing the State Committee for National Security. The Kyrgyz special forces have declared their solidarity with protesters.
The Central Election Commission has voided the election results. "I believe that we've discredited ourselves by this election campaign," commented CEC member Gulnara Djurabayeva to 24.kg.
Some opposition members already have named themselves to official government positions, including deputy secretary of the State Committee for National Security and prosecutor general.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Bishkek on the morning of October 5. In the evening, law enforcement broke up the crowds, using tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and water cannons. One person died. One hundred and fifty people have been hospitalized; out of that number, 13 are in intensive care.
What Else Is Happening In Kyrgyzstan:
- Opposition Butun Kyrgyzstan (United Kyrgyzstan) parliamentary candidate Omurbek Suvanaliyev has announced that he is returning as deputy secretary of the State Committee for National Security and will coordinate Kyrgyzstan’s security organs. President Sooronbai Jeenbekov originally appointed him to the post in 2019.
- Zamandash party candidate Melis Turganbayev has returned as chairman of the State Service for Execution of Punishments. The interior minister has become Kursan Asanov, a former deputy minister of internal affairs, who is also acting as commandant of Bishkek, according to the Interior Ministry.
- Former Justice Minister Almambet Shykmamatov, a parliamentary candidate from the opposition Bir Bol (Unite) party, has announced that he will be the acting prosecutor general. Shykmamatov announced that the parliamentary election results are canceled. The government, however, has not announced a date for new elections.
Shykmamatov has announced arrest warrants for ex-deputy customs head Raiymbek Matraimov, Iskender Matraimov, and Tilek Matraimov, members of the influential family clan behind one of the October 4 election’s official winners, the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (My Homeland Kyrgyzstan) party. Investigative journalists from RFE/RL, OCCRP, Bellingcat, and Kloop have linked the family to an international money-laundering scheme.
- Protesters have occupied the Bishkek mayor’s office and appointed a new mayor. The so-called “people’s mayor” is Zhooshbek Koenaliyev. The official mayor, Aziz Surakmatovo, has resigned.
- The government officials managing Naryn, Issyk-Kul, and Talas Oblasts have resigned from office.
- Aside from ex-President Atambaev, former parliamentary deputy Sadyr Japarov and Prime Minister Sapar Isakov have been released from prison.
- Protesters have taken over control of the public TV station KTRK. On air, they are requesting that there be no looting in Bishkek.
- A protest is also underway in the main southern city of Osh.
- A coordination council of 12 parties opposed to the parliamentary election results is now meeting to discuss security and public order, among other issues. The meeting is chaired by Omurbek Suvanaliyev, the self-appointed deputy secretary of the National Security Council.
- The Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, which supported President Soornobai Jeenbekov's 2017 candidacy, has declared that the Kyrgyz people “have overthrown the criminal authorities.”
How The Government Is Responding
In a televised address on October 5, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov appealed to the Kyrgyz public for calm, terming the events of the night of October 5-6 an attempt at an illegal coup d'etat by individual political forces.
“Under the pretext of the elections, they have disrupted public order, caused destruction. Disobeying law enforcement’s demands, they beat paramedics and trashed buildings," Jeenbekov charged. "I ordered law enforcement organs not to shoot, to avoid bloodshed. Until the last moment, we did our best to keep the situation from escalating.”
He noted that stability and peace are more important than being elected to parliament. Jeenbekov also stated that he had charged the Central Election Commission to study all established violations of election legislation and had proposed, if necessary, to cancel the election results.
“I propose to political party leaders that they calm their supporters and lead them out of places where they’ve accumulated. I call on all compatriots to preserve stability, don’t give in to provocations, and do not commit illegal acts. Peace and security in the country take priority over everything! I call on all forces to place the fate of the country higher than their own political ambitions and to return to the rule of law.”
President Jeenbekov’s press service earlier announced that he would meet with the leaders of all 16 parties participating in the elections at 9 a.m. on October 6, but that meeting does not appear to have occurred. Presidential spokeswoman Tolgonai Stamaliyeva stated that he met with representatives of five parties (Mekenchil, Kyrgyzstan, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan, Birimdik, and Butun Kyrgyzstan) on October 5, according to AKIpress.
The president is known to be in Bishkek, but his exact location is reportedly unclear.
At an emergency session of Kyrgyzstan’s legislature, or Jogorku Kenesh (Supreme Council), on October 6, incumbent parliamentary deputies split into two groups.
One group met in the Dostuk Hotel, about a 10-minute walk south of the White House. Local journalists were not allowed into the hotel, but assumed that the deputies did not have a quorum. Activists stated that the group is considering appointing opposition politician Sadyr Japarov as prime minister, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported. Japarov, sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison in 2017 for the kidnapping of a former regional governor during rallies for the nationalization of the Kumtor gold mine, was freed during the night of October 5-October 6.
The second group of parliamentarians met behind closed doors in Bishkek’s House of Cinema, but did not have a quorum, according to 24.kg.
How The Elections Played Out
Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission announced that four parties had overcome the 7-percent-of-the-vote barrier to enter parliament. Two of them, the pro-government parties Birimdik and Mekenim Kyrgyztsan, had a sizable victory, each receiving approximately 24 percent of the vote. The next runner-up received only 8 percent of the vote, according to official data.
A representative of the sole opposition party to gain seats, Butun Kyrgyzstan, denounced the election results as dishonest. The party's leader, Adakhan Madumarov called for new elections.
"Jeenbekov is mistaken when he says that he created an equal playing field for everyone in the elections,” said Madumarov.