Kyrgyz “Maydan,” the Sequel (Part 9): Is a Compromise Within Reach?
Opposition camp at night
As Bishkek went to bed tonight, it looked as if compromise might be within reach through constitutional changes. While it is too early to say that the political crisis that has evolved over the last several days has ended, reports claim that opposition deputies and pro-Bakiyev deputies have reached a compromise to consider a third version of the constitution. Speaker of parliament, Marat Sultanov, offered more details in a press conference where he outlined the major points in the proposed compromise constitution. According to Sultanov, the constitution would call for a parliament of 90 deputies, half chosen by party-list proportional vote and half chosen by single-mandate votes. If any single party gains 50% of the party-list vote, that party in parliament will have the right to form the government. Otherwise, it will be the responsibility of the president. While the president will have the right regardless to choose the head of the electoral commission, the head of the accounts office, the prosecutor general, and judges, all of these positions will need to be approved by parliament. In general, the compromise appears at the outset to be a positive development that will create more checks and balances while also resolving the political standstill in the country. As comments by readers on KyrgyzReport suggest, however, there remain many questions unanswered concerning this constitution such as whether parties can join together once in parliament to form a coalition government and whether the president will have veto powers. Hopefully, tomorrow the various parties discussing the draft will act responsibly and ensure that this version is as good as possible. We shall have to wait and see.
Also – while compromise seems to be within reach, there remains a standoff on the streets of Bishkek. Edil Baisalov, for example, reported that a group of intoxicated individuals from the pro-Bakiyev protests came to Alatoo square during the night trying to provoke opposition protesters. In addition, nothing has yet to be said about whether the many protesters from the south who are scheduled to arrive tomorrow in support of Mr. Bakiyev will still come to town. Thus, as Tuesday ended in Bishkek, there seemed to be cautious optimism, but a declaration of an end to the political crisis cannot yet be made.