- New Mexico decides to use HealthCare.gov for 2015
- Satanists to use Hobby Lobby rule to skirt state abortion laws
- White House: No choice but to act now on climate change
- HHS: ‘Donut hole’ reforms saved Medicare enrollees $11.5 billion since 2010
- Boston-area tornado rips 100 homes: ‘Are we in Kansas?’
- Rush Limbaugh: ‘There is no journalism anymore’
- Scott Brown struggles for political traction in New Hampshire Senate race
- California’s Jerry Brown cites God, ‘religious call’ to embrace illegals
- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
Kyrgyz government collapses, increasing political instability
Question of the Day
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyzstan’s coalition government disintegrated Wednesday, creating fresh uncertainty for an impoverished Central Asian country rife with corruption and a recent history of two revolutions.
Coalition Chairman Kanatbek Isayev said the Cabinet, including Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov, would carry on its duties in a caretaker government until elections can be held.
Trouble had been brewing in the coalition for weeks, as the Ata-Meken party, a junior partner, accused Mr. Babanov of accepting a $1.5 million racehorse from a Turkish company in exchange for a building contract.
Ata-Meken threatened Mr. Babnov with a no-confidence vote, despite his insistence that he had bought the animal himself for $20,000.
“This is symbolic of the fact that Kyrgyzstan’s political system is so fragile that you can challenge it with a simple horse,” said Asel Doolotkeldieva, a researcher specializing in Kyrgyz politics based in Bishkek. “But it’s not only the horse, of course. It’s the culmination of other, much more serious allegations of corruption against the prime minister.”
Kyrgyzstan, which hosts a U.S. air base used for operations in nearby Afghanistan, has been beset by political instability since a popular uprising in 2010 led to the overthrow of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the introduction of a new constitution that handed more powers to parliament.
Explaining his party’s decision to leave the coalition, Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebayev cited poor economic growth over the past year.
There has been a stream of such accusations against the prime minister since he took office in December, but analysts say that moves to unseat him say more about political rivalries that any party’s defense of democracy.
Kyrgyzstan is “easily, by a long stretch, the most politicized society in Central Asia,” said John Heathershaw, senior lecturer in international relations at Exeter University in the United Kingdom. “And [while] that’s a positive thing, at the moment, it doesn’t look positive because there is so much instability.”
The turmoil has left locals once again feeling that their politicians have let them down.
“Babanov is [said] to be corrupt,” said Erkin Kushbakov, 33, from the southern city of Osh “But who isn’t? All of them are deeply involved in corruption. This may lead to change of the government, of all ministers. But will the new ones make changes? People are getting quite tired of empty promises.”
“Our politicians are very busy criticizing each other, dividing the high positions,” Mr. Kushbakov added. “But can they assure people that this winter we will not have blackouts like the year before?”
Many observers had expected a no-confidence vote to take place when the parliament returned from the summer recess in September.
TWT Video Picks
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq