Kyrgyz leader faces calls to quit

Ex-prime minister and several opposition politicians demand constitutional reforms.

    Kulov, right, resigned as prime minister in December in protest against Bakiyev, left [EPA]

     

    The new alliance said: "The ruling clan seizes property, establishes control over the economy, [and] suppresses businesses and mass media."

     

    Felix Kulov, who served as the country's prime minister from July 2005 to December 2006, co-founded the movement after announcing last week that he wanted to "unite and direct" the country's opposition.

     

    He said Bakiyev betrayed him by not keeping him on as head of the government.

     

    Kulov has also accused Bakiyev of operating with "deception, dishonesty and baseness".

     

    Political instability

     

    Kyrgyzstan has been plagued by political instability since the March 2005 dismissal of long-serving leader, Askar Akayev.

     

    In March 2005 a "revolution" took place that forced Akayev to cede the presidency to Bakiyev and allowed Kulov, a political prisoner who was sprung from jail during the revolt, to become prime minister.

     

    Bakiyev's rule has since been marked by persistent discord over the division of governmental powers.

     

    Week of protests

     

    In November, the opposition staged a week of protests that forced Bakiyev to authorise constitutional reforms curtailing his powers and giving parliament more authority.

     

    Kulov and his government resigned following parliament's adoption of a new constitution last November that required the formation of a new cabinet.

     

    Over the past two years, the president has lost the support of the majority of those who helped him rise to power, amid a series of political crises, including major opposition protests and a series of contract killings of Kyrgyz politicians.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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