Kyrgyz MPs to leave AK47s outside parliament

By bne IntelliNews December 19, 2013

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A new law banning MPs from bringing weapons into the parliament building has been adopted in Kyrgyzstan.

President Almazbek Atambaev signed the law on December 18, according to a report from the presidential press service. It will ban MPs, employees and visitors to the parliament from bringing weapons into the building.

The most democratic of the five Central Asian republics, Kyrgyzstan has five parties represented in the parliament. The lower house has several times seen heated political debates erupt into full on fist fights. In April 2011, 11 guns - including an AK-47 - were confiscated at the parliament when security forces moved in after a fight between two MPs.

At a session on April 1, Kamchibek Tashiyev of the nationalist Ata-Zhurt party threatened to quit the coalition government if corruption accusations against the then deputy prime minister Omurbek Babanov were proved to be correct. Tashiyev then traded blows with a member of Babanov's party, Altynbek Sulaimanov.

Eighteen months later, Tashiyev and two fellow party leaders were arrested and accused of an attempted coup after they broke into the parliament building during an October 2012 demonstration.

Back in 2006, the then parliament speaker Akmanbek Keldibekov scuffled with his predecessor Omurbek Tekebayev, until other MPs stepped in to prevent the fight. Keldibekov has recently been arrested on corruption charges.

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