Bishkek, new religious party is born, but 'not Islamic'
Founded by journalist Myktybek Arstanbek, defeated candidate in the presidential elections. Although he is a Muslim, he says he is not a representative of any religion. The new party supports the new president Sadyr Žaparov.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The January 10 elections returned Sadyr Žaparov to power in Kyrgyzstan. Following this one of the defeated candidates has announced that he has founded a new party, the Nur, which intends to "apply religious principles".
Myktybek Arstanbek, 56 (photo 1), came fourth among presidential candidates with about 1.69% of the votes (about 25 thousand voters), and declared his willingness to collaborate with President Žaparov.
The announcement of the new party was made in a press conference (photo 2) shortly after the election result, on January 14, and by various speeches by Arstanbek in recent days. According to the founder, “we do not say that our party is based on religion, because it is based on the principles of democracy, but we want to make religious values effective. Our people are religious, and perhaps the parties in power have so far failed to find the right path, precisely because they did not take into account religious and traditional values. We will bring the norms of Sharia law to the debate of the whole society, and we will see what is achieved”.
Arstanbek assured journalists that he is not an official representative of any religion, despite being Muslim, and that the party he formed intends to act within the current legislation.
Nur's founder is a journalist known for his religious beliefs. In the recent presidential campaign, he invited the country's Muslims to support his candidacy. In one of his interventions, he stated: "I am the son of a Muslim people, and I would not want my people, presenting themselves before the Creator, to say: O Allah, I would have wanted to choose your religion and I would have given them my vote, but there was no one to vote for… that's why I introduced myself, it's my mission”.
According to Arstanbek, these were the right elections to advance these intentions, as there was no no fraud during the voting procedures, unlike many previous occasions. His candidacy did not require massive funding: about 10 thousand euros were enough.
His proposal has sparked some worried reactions. Theologian Nurlan Ismailov, jurist and member of the constituent assembly said: “Using religion in politics is a bad practice, which the security authorities should beware of. Perhaps it was appropriate to prevent his candidacy”.
This view is also shared by Orozbek Moldaliev, former chairman of the state commission for religious affairs, who expressed his concern over the growing use of religious rhetoric among Kyrgyz politicians.
The new commission for religions, formed after the elections, however, accepted the new party and expressed confidence that Arstanbek and his supporters will respect democratic norms, as stated in the party's statute approved by the ministry of justice. Nur's harmony with President Žaparov perhaps indicates that the newly elected head of state welcomes the support of the more religious sectors of the population.