Kyrgyzstan: Echos of the Parliamentary Elections

The results of the Parliamentary elections of December 2007 and distribution of seats among deputies from each party have spurred lots of discussion and criticism among various human rights activists, heads of international organizations and foreign governments.

According to them, during the elections there were huge violations such as discrepancies in voters’ lists, pressure on chairs, members of local election commissions, bringing university students to polling stations, and wide-scaled palm-greasing especially in rural areas. This allows coming to a conclusion that Kyrgyzstan is far from democracy yet.

However, a positive trend to note is the activeness of the civil society, especially among young people as a result of their dissatisfaction to the government after the elections. Young activists joined in demanding to announce the incumbent parliament and all its decisions illegitimate and to recognize the ruling of Bishkek local council on rules for holding rallies and manifestations unconstitutional.

The campaign by the young people “I don’t believe” was launched to hold a wide-scaled campaign and create a powerful nation-wide youth movement. It involves about 70 university students, ex-Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov, ex-MP Temir Sariev, and human rights activists.

Blogger Mirsulzhan Namazaliev, a leader of the campaign, had a meeting on the 31 January 2008 with the US Ambassador in Kyrgyzstan Marie Jovanovitch to talk about current human right situation in the country and last trials over the participants of the campaign. He said:

I have told about illegal detention of participants and asked all democratic countries to use their mechanisms which can help to resist to movement of state to the side of authoritarianism and disrespect of fundamental human rights.

After a repeating number of peaceful protests and rallies in front of the Parliament, Bishkek city council and Central Square followed up by immediate arrests by Bishkek police, the young liberals are even more passionate about continuing what they are doing.

One the 14 February, Valentine’s Day, they are planning to have a big campaign called “I love you, Kyrgyzstan”. The campaign throughout the Bishkek center will be peaceful and will include about 100 participants. It will start at 11 a.m. at Ahunbaeva Street. The bloggers are quite supportive of this idea. For instance, Morrire says:

I pretty much like the idea of having such a campaign on this day. The name of the campaign coincides with the meaning of the Valentine’s Day.

Elvira67 left a nostalgic comment:

Who if not our youth will protect and love our country. I feel proud of them. I really miss the beauty of the country: mountains, rivers, and trees.

Yes, we do love our country…

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