Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Presidential Poll Date Disputed

Opposition parties in Kyrgyzstan are calling for the next presidential election to be held before the end of this year, while pro-government politicians say there are more pressing concerns facing the country.<br />
The opposition’s argument, made by Social Democrat Isa Omurkulov, is that when the current president Kurmanbek Bakiev was elected in 2005, a different constitution was in place, suggesting that his term in office runs out in 2009, not next year.

The opposition says it is under increasing pressure, with many of its political leaders facing prosecution and its public meetings obstructed.

Ajibay Kalmamatov, a member of parliament for the pro-Bakiev party Ak Jol, dismisses the opposition’s call for an early election.

“They are creating something out of nothing,” he said. “It would be better to be doing something useful. There are a lot of important things to be done.

The precise election date aside, political analyst Mars Sariev says the major government reshuffle Bakiev recently conducted shows that preparations for the ballot are under way. Sariev believes the opposition does not stand a good chance since it is disunited and lacks outstanding leaders.

Reporter Aida Tokoeva also interviewed a seven-year-old boy called Ulan, who wants to be president one day because then he can hand out money and generally run everything. Given the government’s current efforts to stave off the worst effects of the financial crisis, the job is a bit more difficult than that.

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