Kyrgyz president’s party given mandate to form new ruling coalition

By bne IntelliNews October 27, 2016

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has given the Social Democratic Party (SDPK) a mandate to form a new ruling coalition shortly after the government resigned, the president’s office said on October 26.

The government's resignation follows the break-up of the governing coalition after SDPK decided to quit over its partners refusal to back proposed constitutional reforms that some claim represent an attempt by the president to consolidate his power. SDPK, which was headed by Atambayev before his election as president and remains loyal to him, was expected to receive the mandate to form a new government as it is the largest party in the Kyrgyz parliament, controlling 38 seats in the 120-member assembly.

A recent report by 24.kg suggested the new ruling coalition will likely be formed by SDPK, Kyrgyzstan Party and Respublika - Ata Jurt (RAJ). Ata Meken and Onuguu-Progress will no longer be part of the ruling majority. While SDPK is backing the constitutional referendum, Ata Meken and Onuguu-Progress are opposing it, arguing that the proposed changes would give the prime minister too much power.

The new ruling coalition will control 84 parliamentary seats, up from 80 seats under the previous coalition. SDPK is expected to start negotiations on establishing a new coalition on October 27, the report said.

A new coalition will likely allow SDPK to carry on with its plans to hold the constitutional referendum on December 11. The referendum seeks to strengthen the powers of the prime minister against that of the presidency. Some critics say the move is aimed at getting Atambayev into the prime minister’s post when his term ends, although he said in August he had no such plan. Others believe that Atambayev hopes to install his own loyal prime minister, who will answer to him and his party once his term as president ends.

The Central Asian nation's constitution bars Atambayev from running for a second term when his mandate ends in 2017. 

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