Has Bakiyev backed the Kyrgyz Parliament into a Corner (again)?
Will Felix Kulov be nominated Prime Minister again?
In September when the Kyrgyzstan opposition began protesting the lack of progress in the reforms promised by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, they were counting on Felix Kulov eventually joining them. When Kulov held his course in backing Bakiyev throughout the protests, the opposition felt betrayed and increasingly turned against the Kyrgyz Prime Minister.
Since that time, Kyrgyz politics have taken yet another winding path into a standstill. It seemed that early November had brought compromise and a new constitution. But, in a move reminiscent of Kyrgyz presidents past, Bakiyev pulled out a new years surprise and rammed a slightly different version of the constitution through parliament on December 30. The major change in this “newer” constitution was that it returned the power to nominate the government to President Bakiyev until a new parliament is elected. With this newer constitution signed by Bakiyev last week, the President immediately sent his renewed nomination of Kulov for Prime Minister to the parliament.
Few were surprised when the parliament refused the nomination of Kulov. Many were surprised, however, when President Bakiyev decided to send Kulov’s name to parliament a second time. The quandary that the parliament finds itself in at present is that three consecutive denials of the President’s Prime Minister nominations will result in a dissolution of parliament. If it denies Kulov a second time, Bakiyev may decide to either present his name a third time, or he may decide to present the name of somebody that the parliament might dislike even more, such as Usen Sydykov.
It would seem that the chess game is nearing checkmate. In a last ditch effort to save itself from being backed into a corner, the parliament has declared Baliyev’s second straight nomination of Kulov illegal. It is questionable, however, whether this decision would be upheld by the constitutional court. Most importantly, with politics at a standstill, Kyrgyzstan has returned to what has become its usual state of affairs – inactivity. The question of public broadcasting has been all but lost, and the real purpose of developing a new constitution to prevent a repeat of past corruption and authoritarianism has been obscured. With the idealists who had great hopes for the “Tulip Revolution” becoming increasingly fatigued by this political in-fighting, it is even questionable whether parliamentary elections could yield enough enthusiasm to get the country out of its present rut. Perhaps only a real revolutionary leader could do that -a Kyrgyz “Nelson Mandela”- could accomplish that. Are there any out there?