Permissible Arms

Referendums, Asylums, and Aid in Kyrgyzstan

Posted in kyrgyzstan by Karaka on 29 June 2010

I’ve been reading continuously on Kyrgyzstan, but with the whole McChrystal flap I haven’t had a chance to post about it. It looks like the violence has calmed down, either because of time or because of Roza Otunbayeva’s call for assistance from the OCSE–which doesn’t even meet until Thursday (1 July). So, spontaneous calm? Either way, the nation has successfully passed the new constitution without further violence or unrest, which says something about things returning to normal.

More than 90 percent voted “yes” in Sunday’s referendum, with 5 percent of the ballots remaining to be counted, said Central Elections Committee spokeswoman Galina Skripkina. About 8 percent voted against it. Some 2.7 million people were eligible to vote, and turnout was nearly 70 percent, she said.

…The referendum – supported by the U.N., the U.S. and Russia – is seen as an important step on the road to democracy for the interim government, which came to power after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April following deadly street protests. The new constitution strips power from the president and gives more authority to parliament.

Otunbayeva will be confirmed as a continued interim president until elections are held, possibly still on-time for this fall if peace continues. However, 400,000 Kyrgyz citizens are still displaced, both externally and internally. That must be dealt with over the summer, which may be the role OCSE ends up playing in Kyrgyzstan.

Spiegel has an interview with Otunbayeva that most covers existing ground, but does confirm Steve Levine’s point that Kyrgyzstan was indeed in contact with the US, though not for full-scale police aid. And the plot thickens–or at least trundles along–for the ousted Bakiyevs, as Bakiyev Jr. claims asylum in Britain. I’m of the opinion that Cameron will assert his foreign power cred by denying any extradition requests to Kyrgyzstan.

Registan has ways you can help out Kyrgyzstan and its citizens.

The last several weeks have been a big step–good or bad–for Kyrgyzstan on the world stage. Here’s hoping the next flurry of articles is about an election, rather than a riot.

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