01/12/2021, 10.13
KYRGYSTAN
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Who is the new Kyrgyz president Sadyr Žaparov

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Elected with almost 80% of the votes, he is considered an unjustly accused political prisoner. On his release from prison, he became prime minister and then acted as president. Some call him "the Kyrgyz Trump". A referendum has decreed that Kyrgyzstan becomes a presidential republic. Parliamentary elections also in Kazakhstan, with an obvious victory for the Nur Otan party, the former president - but perennial leader - Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Sadyr Žaparov, 52, won the January 10 presidential elections. For the electoral committee, he got almost 80% of the votes. In second place was Adakhan Madumarov with almost 7%, and Babyrzhan Tolbaev with 2.3%.

Voter turnout was set at just under 40%, the lowest in the entire post-Soviet period. However, as no quorum is set for the presidential elections, the election was declared valid, despite protests from opponents who denounce fraud. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already congratulated Žaparov.

The newly elected president is the sixth since the country’s independence (1991). After declaring victory, he held a press conference stating that he wanted to "make all emigrants go home" and lift the country out of economic crisis within the next three years.

Along with the election of the president, a referendum on the form of government was also held, a particularly delicate vote considering the unrest of 2020, which continued for months. The presidential type government obtained 81.29%; the parliamentary form 10.85%.

Neutral observers denounce various irregularities: the transport of masses of voters to the polling stations; pressure on voters; violations of the secrecy of the ballot box. Many fear that because of this, there will be unrest in the coming days. According to the correspondents of the Nastojashee Vremja channel, the most serious problems occurred due to the malfunction of the automatic ballot boxes, which interrupted the voting operations in many polling stations: due to the cold, the ballot boxes would have stopped, forcing to put away the tabs on chairs or on the floor.

Until recently, the new president was still in prison, with a sentence of 11 and a half years for hostage-taking. But his supporters released him and took him out of the prison camp. Quite unexpectedly, being a political exponent of the old regime, he has put himself at the head of the protests of the past months. Five days after his liberation, he became prime minister. Since last October he has been acting as president, forcing President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to resign. Žaparov also promised to bring back the former presidents Askar Akaev and Kurmanbek Bakiev, who fled years earlier (Akaev in 2005, Bakiev in 2010), on the condition that the people offer them forgiveness for the sins of the past. Finally, he declared that he wanted to organize a "Putin-style" constitutional referendum by 2021.

Žaparov's popularity was built during his first three years of detention, which many judged unfair. During his imprisonment he barely survived a suicide attempt; while he was a recluse he lost both parents and son. In the opinion of many, his detention was an attempt to block his proposal to nationalize the country's main gold mining site, Kumtor. From prison he often addressed the population with video messages, criticizing the country's government, strengthening his image as a persecuted politician and riding on street protests. Some observers call him the "Kyrgyz Trump".

On January 10, the parliamentary and regional elections were held in Kazakhstan, the first after the resignation of the "eternal president" Nursultan Nazarbaev, later replaced by his daughter Qasim-Jomart Tokaev. According to the first published ballots, the party of President Nur Otan would have obtained over 70% of the votes. In second place with 9% the People’s Party of Kazakhstan (former Communist Party), which also supports President Tokaev. Here too irregularities and fraud are reported, and there have been attempts to organize protests, which were immediately blocked by the police.

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