Isabekov resigned "in order to preserve the stability of the country," a government spokeswoman, Roza Daudova, said.

Political instability

March 2005 Popular uprising forces long-term leader Askar Akayev to flee to Russia.

June 2005 Opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev elected president.

November 2006 Thousands protest in Bishkek demanding Bakiyev step down after failing to deliver constitutional reform. Government brings coup charges against several opposition figures.

December 2006 Bakiyev backtracks on new reforms and retains power to appoint the prime minister.

January 2007 Azim Isabekov, the former agriculture minister, chosen as compromise PM after Bakiyev's first two choices are refused.

March 28 2007 Bakiyev refuses to authorise Isabekov's request to appease the opposition by sacking seven ministers.

The change of prime minister came after Bakiyev refused to authorise Isabekov's decision to sack seven cabinet members on Wednesday, once again increasing political uncertainty the country.

Bakiyev was quoted by his press office as saying that Isabekov "believes the most important thing now is to preserve the stability of the country and not allow mass disturbances and disorder".

"I hope this step ... will give positive results, help end the escalation of social tension and force those people who are desperate for power at any cost to think long and hard," he said.

Opposition leaders have threatened a major protest for next month. The country has inexperienced regular political instability following an uprising in March 2005 in which Bakiyev's predecessor, Askar Akayev was ousted.

Isabekov himself had been appointed prime minister only in January after an impasse caused by a series of constitutional changes forced the previous government, headed by Felix Kulov, to resign.