Nationalist Sadyr Japarov Wins Kyrgyzstan Presidential Election

  January 11, 2021   News ID 1486
Nationalist Sadyr Japarov Wins Kyrgyzstan Presidential Election
Sadyr Japarov was on the path to an easy win Sunday in Kyrgyzstan's presidential election, the first vote following recent political upheaval in the Central Asian country.

Bishkek, SAEDNEWS, Jan. 11: Results published by the ex-Soviet country's Central Election Commission (CEC) showed Japarov with close to 80 percent of the vote after an automated count. A referendum held in parallel showed Kyrgyz strongly preferring presidential rule, which would grant Japarov sweeping powers when a new constitution is passed, most probably later this year.

The referendum vote spells the end of political system adopted a decade ago to tame authoritarianism after two successive strongman presidents were ejected from power during street protests in 2005 and 2010.

Just over 10 percent supported a parliamentarian system.

Japarov, 52, was serving jail time on hostage-taking charges when protests in October saw him freed by supporters and propelled to the top of the political pyramid.

CEC data Sunday showed his closest competitor, nationalist Adakhan Madumarov, trailing with less than 7 percent.

Japarov's journey from prison to the presidency is an example of the dramatic changes in political fortunes in the Central Asian country that is both more unpredictable and pluralistic than its authoritarian neighbours.

As results trickled in, portable toilets and a stage were set up on the main square of the capital Bishkek – the scene of clashes between police and protesters that left one protester dead in October – as supporters gathered to mark his victory.

Critics of Japarov, who became acting leader during the unrest, fear his victory and the vote for presidential rule could tip Kyrgyzstan towards the authoritarianism dominant in ex-Soviet Central Asia region.

In Bishkek, where cold winters usher in a thick blanket of smog courtesy of polluting heating systems and ageing transport, many voters had said they intended to back Japarov at the ballot box.

"He has promised to raise salaries, pensions," said Vera Pavlova, 69, who admitted that she knew little about other candidates.

"I haven't seen their posters anywhere. Only Japarov's." (Source: France24)