Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is the Kyrgyz Opposition Trying to Pull Kulov Away from Bakiyev in Advance of the November 2 Protests?

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Prime Minister Kulov (left) and President Bakiyev (right)

As the deadline for opposition protests in Bishkek approaches, there seems to be many in the opposition who are hoping that Prime Minister Felix Kulov will throw his weight to the side of the protestors and give up on his partner in the present ruling tandem, Kurmanbek Bakiyev. An editorial-styled article in the anti-Bakiyev “Belyi Parakhod” newspaper is critical of Kulov, noting that he must stand up to Bakiyev if he is to be responsive to the people of Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, opposition politician and deputy Azimbek Beknazarov declared yesterday in parliament that Bakiyev and Kulov are already opponents in the political arena. Sources in Kyrgyzstan suggest that many in the opposition camp are hoping that Kulov will jump ship on Bakiyev and take over control of the country, but Kulov has yet to show any signs of doing so. The article in “Belyi Parakhod” and Beknazarov’s proclamation in parliament may be two different approaches employed by the opposition in order to draw Kulov out into the open in his competition with Bakiyev. For Kulov, of course, this is a dangerous game that could lead to him either taking over the country or being pushed out of government entirely.

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