The leader of the Ata Meken political party, Omurbek Tekebayev, attended a party meeting on August 27 and stated that “Kyrgyzstan is in a political crisis because two friends cannot share the governance of the country.” A video of the meeting was posted on Jalbyrak-TV’s Facebook page.
According to Tekebayev, Kyrgyzstan is in its third year of political crisis. The politician believes that the “power sharing” between Almazbek Atambayev and Sooronbay Jeenbekov* gave rise to the crisis. According to him [Tekebayev], despite the change of power, the country hasn’t come out of the crisis.
“The situation is critical! Two friends [Zhaparov and Tashiev – editor’s note] are sharing power, ruling Kyrgyzstan in a race. This kind of governance can drive the country into an even greater crisis. Is this a rumor or political speculation? No! This is a fact based on history and sociological research,” said Tekebayev.
*Almazbek Atambayev was president from 2011 to 2017. He then handed over power to his successor, Sooronbay Jeenbekov. Jeenbekov ruled Kyrgyzstan from late 2017 until October 2020. Then power shifted and the country was led by Sadyr Japarov.
The fall of the Akayev and Bakiyev regimes
Tekebayev then introduced his party members to a poll that has been conducted since 2005. He showed on a chart how the number of those who were dissatisfied with the government and those who were satisfied varied.
According to the chart provided by the politician, in April 2005, 45% of the population was satisfied with the government of that time and 48% was dissatisfied. According to him, this led to the 2005 revolution*.
*The “Tulip Revolution” took place on March 24, 2005. It was triggered by a series of constitutional changes, corruption, and family-clan rule caused by the president at the time, Askar Akayev. The unrest began in the south of the country and then spread to other regions. President Askar Akayev fell from power on the evening of March 24 and had to flee to Kazakhstan with his family. Kurmanbek Bakiyev came to power afterward. Akayev now lives in the Russian capital, Moscow.
“After the revolution, the number of those who were against dropped to 29%. Many agreed with Bakiyev’s policies. But in 2009, the number of protesters rose to 60% in six months when Bakiyev turned his son into a ‘tsar’, began to plan the transfer of power to him, to kill political opponents, and to arrest leaders en masse. This corresponds to April-May 2010*,” said Tekebayev.
*On April 7, 2010, civilian unrest in Bishkek ended in a revolution; after bloody collisions, president Kurmanbek Bakiyev was overthrown. Eighty-seven people died on that day. Bakiyev fled to Belarus and remains there to this day. His son, Maxim Bakiyev, lives in the capital of Great Britain, London.
A third revolution
According to Tekebayev, after Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted, the number of people dissatisfied with the government began to decrease, while the number of people who trusted Roza Otunbayeva and later Almazbek Atambayev began to grow. However, after the elections in 2017 and Sooronbai Jeenbekov’s accession to power, the number of dissatisfied people began to grow again. By September-October 2020, 53 percent of Kyrgyz citizens were dissatisfied with the government.
“Thus, in 2020 there was a revolution in Kyrgyzstan again. Then a president was elected, a different course of governing [the country] was chosen, and in March 70% of the population supported Sadyr Japarov’s chosen course. The number of those who expressed dissatisfaction fell sharply to 23%,” said the politician.
Within three to four months, however, the number of dissatisfied people rose to 34%. Tekebayev suggests there could be a fourth revolution under the following conditions:
- if previous methods are used in the upcoming elections;
- if candidates of the pro-government parties “change their hats” by dispersing to other parties and coming to power again.
“We don’t need another revolution”
Tekebayev pointed out that previously the number of protesters grew over a period of three to five years, whereas now the sharp increase in people’s discontent happened within just six months.
According to him, “this is not joyful, it’s alarming.” Tekebayev believes that “Kyrgyzstan does not need another revolution.”
“If we take into account the approaching harsh winter, the financial crisis, and the government crisis, the number of protesters will rise to 60-70% in the spring. The situation in parliament today is also bad. They pass laws without reading them. The result is that the possibility of a fourth revolution is becoming a reality,” said Tekebayev criticising the current government.
On Ata Meken’s participation in upcoming elections
The politician announced that Ata Meken will participate in the Jogorku Kenesh (Supreme Council) elections that take place on November 28. According to him, there should be a real opposition in parliament that has principles and ideas.
“If our candidates win, we will be able to bring the current authorities to their senses, to criticize, and to guide them. This will reduce public discontent and increase confidence in the government. In last year’s election, young people formed a team and ran for office. This year the rules have not changed. This time young people will form a new team using our instructions,” said Tekebayev.
Who is Omurbek Tekebayev
Omurbek Tekebayev, the founder of the Ata Meken party, is called the “father of the Constitution.” He was a member of the group of legislators who drafted the first text of the Main Law of the country in 1993. He was also actively involved in the creation of the 2010 constitution. The leader of Ata Meken and former president Almazbek Atambayev have been in confrontation since 2016.
First, the party did not support Atambayev’s constitutional reform, and then Tekebayev accused Atambayev of illegally acquiring land in the village of Koy-Tash and of receiving shadow income. After this, Omurbek Tekebayev was convicted in 2017 under the corruption article and sentenced to 8 years with confiscation of property. He and another person convicted in this case called the trial a “political hit.”
In 2019, the Supreme Court overturned earlier rulings and sent the case for reconsideration. Tekebayev was later released under house arrest. Then the Prosecutor General’s office dropped the charges, and the Pervomaisky district court dismissed the case on April 19, 2021.
Translated by Liudmila Petrova from Respond Crisis Translation