Jacopo Dettoni in Bishkek -
The Social Democratic Party (SDPK) of President Almazbek Atambayev came first in elections to the country’s unicameral parliament at the weekend.
The SDPK won 27.4% of the votes, followed by the Respublika-Ata Jurt party, a marriage of convenience between the relatively liberal party Respublika and the nationalist party Ata Jurt with 20.07% of the votes, and the Kyrgyzstan party running on a multi-ethnic, multi-regional platform with 12.8% of the votes, according to preliminary results disclosed by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).
A total of six parties cleared the 7% threshold and gained a foothold in the Jogorku Kenesh. President Atambayev will now have to give a mandate to one party to orchestrate coalition talks and eventually create a government. SDPK leader Chynybay Tursunbekov stated that “I will not be wrong in assuming that the mandate to form a coalition will be granted to the SDPK", local news website Knews.kg reported on October 5.
Two to three parties will now have to come together to gather the absolute majority needed to back a government, whereas the others will make up a sizable, but fractured opposition, said Medet Tiulegenov, a political lecturer at the American University of Central Asia.
The election results boost Kyrgyzstan's developing pluralism, even though parties mostly ran on vague platforms and such a fractioned Jogorku Kenesh will be a hurdle towards the establishment of a stable government.
“I think the presidential administration was really hoping that the vote would return a smaller amount of parties to parliament,” said Deirdre Tynan, Central Asia Project Director at the International Crisis Group.
“There are two years between now and the 2017 presidential elections. Parliament will likely be more confrontational, more difficult to control. It’s likely to see a period of uncertainty over whether or not the parliament will ever be able to move forward with any programme for reform because of the inherent tension of having six parties in one parliament.”
Despite the challenges lying in such a fragmented Jogorku Kenesh, Kyrgyz authorities and civil society are largely praising the success of the election process, which was characterised by relatively fair election campaigns, with little room for irregularities, and a transparent voting process in which 1.59mn voted, out of an electorate of 2.76mn, a 57.56% turnout, higher than the 55.9% turnout of the previous 2010 elections, when double-voting was widely regarded as common practice.
“A high turnout is always encouraging, it means that people are interested in democractic processes in Kyrgyzstan, is now up to the politicians to live up to the mandate they have been given,” Tynan says.
Voting went smoothly, helped by the introduction of technology funded by international donors. “[This] has been a very welcome surprise as there certainly was a fear of technical glitches that could have wrecked the credibility of the election process,” Tynan added.
Between 50,000 to 60,000 votes have been affected by technical malfunctioning, around 3% of total valid votes. “The system has met our expectations,” the CEC stated.
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