From that moment that Akayev was ousted events were taken out of the hands of the grassroots movements that started the protests and were placed in the hands of veteran politicians. Bakiyev was named acting president by the old parliament, and Kulov was released from jail and later had the charges by which he had been imprisoned dismissed by the Supreme Court. Two rival parliaments competed for legitimacy: one made up of representatives from the old parliament before the 2005 election; and the other made of representatives from the new parliament who were chosen in the 2005 election. The new parliament included people linked with a number of powerful businesses that could destabilize the economy if they so chose.

The crisis didn’t ease until one of the parliaments ceded authority. The one that remained was the one chosen on the February and March elections that set off the protest. Bakiyev said that he would support this parliament in the name of maintaining stability and said that election fraud would be investigated on a case by case basis rather than dismissing the entire parliament. There was more than a bit of irony in the way events unfolded in that the old parliament was the one that named Bakiyev as the interim president and it is was the election of the new parliament that sparked the events which led to Akayev’s ouster.

Unrest After Akayev Resigns

Protests and attacks on political figures continued after Akayev’s ouster in the spring of 2005. Hundreds of supporters from Akayev’s home regions rallied to protest his ouster. In the end they were convinced not march into the capital by the ousted Interior Minister who was convinced that was the best move for the country after a meeting under a tree in a field with the head of the Supreme Court.

Later protesters occupied the Supreme Court for a month to complain about decision judges made about candidates not allowed to run. The protesters remained in the court offices until they were ousted by thugs. In Osh there were clashes between security forces and market traders over prices. Bishkek’s largest car seller was murdered and a $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to capture of the murders. There were also clashes between crowds and security forces outside government buildings in Bishkek.

In May 2005, there was a major uprising in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan that left hundreds dead. More than 5,000 refugees escaped into Kyrgyzstan and asked for asylum. See Uzbekistan

In June 2005, about 2,000 supporters of the politician Urmat Baryktabasov stormed the government headquarters building and briefly held the building. They were angry that Baryktabasov was not allowed to register to run in the presidential election. Many believe the incident was provoked by Akayev supporters.

Presidential Elections in July 2005

In elections in July 2005, Bakiyev won with nearly 90 percent of the vote, defeating five challengers. His nearest rival, Kulov, won less than 4 percent of the vote. Election observers from the Organization of Security and Cooperation of Europe said the election “generally respected” civil and political rights but fell short of meeting international standards.

With this election, Kyrgyzstan became the first Central Asian country to install a new leader in an election. As of 2005, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan were still ruled by their Soviet-era leaders. Tajikistan was still ruled President Emomali Rakhmonov who came to power in 1992 during the civil war in that country.

But some said the 2005 Kyrgyzstan presidential election was marred by a lack of real choices. A number of candidates were not allowed to run because of various technicalities. Bakiyev won support from supporters of his main rival Felix Kulov by pledging to name him prime minister and unify the southern and northern factions. The other four candidates were largely unknown to voters and did little campaigning. Before the election Akayev said that he supported Bakiyev. The presidential campaign featured a series of televised debates between the candidates. The main topic was whether privatization deals made under Akayev should be reviewed.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated April 2016

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