Western-style democracy not suitable for Kyrgyzstan
Anticipating an authoritarian move, President Bakiyev says he believes that a system based on elections and individual human rights might not be suitable for his country. By contrast, people take to the streets to protest against the economic crisis and mark the fifth anniversary of the ‘Orange Revolution’.
Bishkek (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of people took to the streets today to mark the fifth anniversary of the so-called ‘Orange Revolution’ and protest against President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s policies. Yesterday, the president told parliament that it was time for a review of “Western-style democracy”.  In a country reeling from economic hardship with an opposition that is divided and without alternative proposal, the president remarks point towards an authoritarian change of government.

In the meantime, the president has to face protesters brought into the streets for the “broken promises” he made on 24 March 2005 when at the end of a peaceful mass campaign he was able to remove then President Askar Akaev, who was forced to flee abroad.

Demonstrators accuse Bakiyev of failing to curb corruption, making the economic situation worse, tightening his grip on the state with the people feeling caught between rival clans vying for power.

In the capital, Bishkek, a group of protesters tried to reach the building where Bakiyev opened a Kurultai, or national assembly of 750 delegates. The police said they detained 19 people (30 according to the opposition), including leading figures of the opposition.

In the Alai region, police and anti-government protesters clashed. About 40 people were taken into custody.

In recent days, the government shut down radio stations, TV programs and newspapers.

For some experts, the Kyrgyz opposition is too split to mobilise the population and unable to bring forth constructive proposals on how to improve people’s lives.

At the same, analysts note that the presidential clan is concentrating power with the economy under the control of the president’s son, Maksim.

For the president, Western-style democracy might not be suited for his country. Instead, Kyrgyzstan could benefit from a "consultative democracy" based on consultations between those in power and influential social groups in society.

What is more, the current government has solid international support, especially for its role in the US-led war in Afghanistan.

Manas airport, which is located close to the Afghan border, serves a a transit point for the US airforce. The Pentagon awarded contracts for air fuel supply to Bakiyev family-connected businesses.

“The ruling family earns at least US$ 80 million of pure profit by hosting the American air base,” says exiled Kyrgyz opposition member Edil Baisalov.