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Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

[30.05.2OO2] Kyrgyzstan gets new PM, opposition sceptical. By Olga Dzyubenko

BISHKEK, May 30 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted on Thursday to appoint Nikolai Tanayev as prime minister, a week after the Central Asian state's government resigned amid a political crisis last week.
Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev resigned last Wednesday after a special commission headed by Tanayev found senior officials responsible for the deaths of five civilians in clashes with police in March.
Tanayev, proposed by President Askar Akayev after consultations with major factions, was elected by 36 votes in the lower chamber with five votes against him. The lower house has the final word under Kyrgyz law.
Tanayev, 57, was first deputy prime minister under Bakiyev.
Akayev told deputies before the vote he saw Tanayev could unite the divided and poor ex-Soviet nation of five million.
"Nikolai Timofeyevich is an ethnic Russian, but he is imbued with Kyrgyz spirit. He will ensure continuity of government and its smooth transition to a qualitatively new level," he said.
Tanayev told journalists after the vote the government would spare no effort to improve the economic situation by the end of the year. "The task is to work, work and work," the new premier, a construction engineer by training, said.
Bloody clashes broke out in the south of the mountainous country when thousands protested in March at the arrest of their deputy in the national parliament, Azimbek Beknazarov.
Despite the government resignation, the country's small but vocal opposition has vowed stage massive protests until the guilty are punished and Beknazarov cleared of his criminal conviction.
It appears unlikely Tanayev's appointment will placate it.
"I have no illusions as far as Tanayev's government is concerned. The cabinet promises to be a weak one," opposition deputy Iskhak Masaliyev told Reuters after the vote.
"This man (Tanayev) is neither fish nor fowl," another opposition deputy, who declined to be named, said.
Following the government's resignation, Akayev vowed last week to cooperate closely with all political forces and invited the opposition to participate in a broad government coalition. But opponents ignored the call.
"The authorities have invited the opposition to enter the government, but no one (of opposition members) has accepted this," independent deputy Tursunbai Bakir Uulu said.
Akayev still enjoys vast support in his native north and among a large number of Russian speakers living in this predominantly Turkic nation. But he faces simmering social discontent in the south, separated from the rest of the country by both mountains and culture.
Washington has warm ties with Akayev, who has allowed it to deploy thousands of coalition troops at the main civil airport, Manas, to participate in the U.S.-led anti-terror campaign in nearby Afghanistan. At the same time it remains critical of his worsening record on human rights and democracy.
Reuters, May 30, 2002

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