Amid political crisis, Kyrgyz president accepts PM’s resignation

The move comes amid a disputed parliamentary vote that has sparked a fresh crisis in the Central Asian nation, triggering mass protests.

Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbay Jeenbekov attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia [File: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin/Reuters]

Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov has signed an order dismissing Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov and his cabinet on Friday, his office said in a statement.

Boronov tendered his resignation after opposition groups on Tuesday seized government buildings in response to protests against a controversial parliamentary election which has since been annulled.

The disputed vote sparked a fresh crisis in the Central Asian country, triggering protests and unrest that have killed at least one person and injured hundreds.

The rallies forced mass resignations that included the prime minister, the cabinet and several governors and mayors, leaving a political vacuum.

Jeenbekov also offered to resign on Friday in an address published on the presidential website once a date for fresh elections had been set and changes in government had been confirmed by parliament and his office.

“We need to get the situation back to the rule of law as soon as possible. After legitimate executive authorities have been approved and we are back on the path of lawfulness, I am ready to leave the post of President of the Kyrgyz Republic.”

The statement comes hours after Jeenbekov’s press chief said the president’s resignation was not “under question” in talks he was holding with national political leaders.

Jeenbekov has made no public appearances since the unrest broke out.

Opposition parties claim Sunday’s election was rigged by significant vote-buying in favour of parties close to Jeenbekov.

Despite the annulment of the vote, tensions in the country continue as rival politicians and their supporters press claims to leadership posts and state institutions are in chaos.

Omurbek Suvanaliyev, who has claimed the title of national security chief in the aftermath of clashes between police and protesters, is one of several politicians who claimed titles.

Meanwhile, Russia has described the current situation as “chaotic”. The country, which has an airbase in Kyrgyzstan, said it had obligations under an existing security treaty to prevent the situation from totally breaking down.

“This is an incredible turnaround of events here,” said Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the capital Bishkek.

“Seems like [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is very concerned about how the situation here could deteriorate. And it seems as if he’s reigned Jeenbekov in,” he said.

“Let’s not forget Russia has big interests here in Kyrgyzstan – geopolitically and in terms of investments.

“This is a country that buys Russian gas, Russian infrastructure. It is all maintained by Russia.

‘Legitimise ongoing appointments’

Jeenbekov said he wanted to “legitimise ongoing appointments” before his potential resignation.

He also called on law enforcement to ensure legislators, whose building is not under state control, are able to hold a session to approve the changes.

After Boronov’s resignation, politician Sadyr Zhaparov positioned himself as his replacement after he was released from jail by supporters following the violence on Monday.

Zhaparov’s candidacy was approved by some legislators in an extraordinary session in a three-star hotel after the parliament building was seized by protesters, the parliamentary press service said.

Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and is a close ally of Russia, has long been a platform for geopolitical competition between Moscow, Washington and Beijing.

The Central Asian nation has a history of political volatility – two of its presidents have been toppled by revolts in the past 15 years.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies