Oct. 10 (UPI) — Kyrgyz lawmakers on Saturday approved former parliament member Sadyr Japarov, 51, as prime minister after his supporters sprung him from prison following unrest and a state of emergency caused by a disputed Oct. 4 parliamentary election.
Members who had been elected to the Central Asian country’s 120-member parliament in 2015 voted Saturday as a quorum of 62 at the presidential resident of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov outside of Bishkek. Jeenbekov said Saturday he would resign once the new parliament is seated.
Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency after newly elected prime minister, Kubatbek Boronov was forced to resign on Oct. 6 amid demonstrations and violence that injured dozens of people and sent the new president into hiding.
Street violence and widespread resignations began last week after credible accusations of election irregularities and vote buying. The election was annulled. Kyrgyzstan’s Central Elections Commission has said that elections for a new parliament must be conducted by Nov.9.
Clashes broke out on the streets of the capital Bishkek last week between supporters of Japarov and former President and Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, who was also freed from prison by supporters after the disputed election. Protesters allegedly shot at Atambaev’s vehicle. On Friday, Kyrgyz security forces re-arrested Atambaev.
“[Japarov’s] supporters turned out to be the strongest,” Arkady Dubnov, a Central Asia expert in Moscow, told the New York Times.
Before being sprung by supporters, Japarov was serving an 11.5-year sentence after being convicted in 2013 of kidnapping of a regional governor.
Japarov, elected to parliament in 2005 and 2010, was a supporter of former President Kurmanbek Bakiev, who fled the country after mass protests in 2010. Japarov and others were accused in 2012 of trying to overthrow the new government and were sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In 2013, Japarov was convicted of holding hostage a provincial governor at a protest in the town Karakol. He fled the country to Kazakhstan, but was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Japarov said Saturday that he supports streamlining Kyrgyzstan’s 16-party parliamentary elections and would retain all government ministers who’ve been serving in an acting capacity, Radio Free Europe reported Saturday.