Kyrgyzstan awaits stability, gets ready for election battle
As the clock ticks towards the Kyrgyz elections, the country is holding its breath, uncertain as to whether the election will bring stability, or plunge the country into another round of violence and chaos.
Felix Kulov, the country's former prime minister, who could be next to lead the country following the controversial reigns of Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
“Kulov is one of the few figures who have not been tarnished in the last 15-20 years. He was an ally of president Akayev in coming to power in the early 1990s, but later on he broke with him and he was in the opposition in jail for a few years,” political analyst Dmitry Babich told RT.
“He was not tarnished by cooperation with former president Bakiyev, so he has a pretty high moral standing among the Kyrgyz population and has good chances of winning the next parliamentary elections,” Babich added.
Kulov has at different times been the National Security general, a regional governor, and mayor of the capital Bishkek. What he is most renowned and praised for in his home country is his ability to handle crisis situations.
“In 2005 there was chaos, total mess, marauders in the capital, police and national security had all run away at that point,” said analyst of Central Asia Sanobar Shermatova. “That is when Kulov's friends, revolutionaries, asked him to take matters into his own hands and in three days he restored order.”
However, Kulov also has a reputation for being difficult. He was a close ally of both Kyrgyz presidents at the beginning of their terms and soon fell out of favour with both of them, finding himself in opposition, and twice in prison.
“There can never be two or three powerful figures at the top in Kyrgyz politics,” said Shermatova. “Kulov has always been a very powerful person, and Bakiyev and Akayev have both felt that he could be the person to sweep them from their posts and take power into his hands.”
Some predict Kulov's party Ar-Namys, which translates as “dignity” in Kyrgyz, is in a strong position. Yet Kulov will have to run against a multitude of other parties – all of whom also fancy their chances of challenging him.
“The problem is that it is very difficult to create a democratic country in Central Asia,” Babich said. “Kyrgyzstan is the most democratic country in Central Asia, but unfortunately this is a very immature democracy and sometimes it leads to very bad results.”
“Right now what Kyrgyzstan needs is not a democracy of European type. I do not think it is possible in Kyrgyzstan. What it needs is stability and cessation of violence,” he added.
Regardless of who wins the election, it is a crucial decision for Kyrgyzstan, which has been in turmoil in the years following the fall of the Soviet Union.