Kyrgyzstan’s challenges and new Government

MIN READSep 13, 2012 | 17:29 GMT

The recent political crisis that brought about the dismissal of the Kyrgyz Government due to lack of majority in Parliament has been solved in a fast and efficient way within two weeks. Kyrgyzstan now has a new Prime Minister and Government (see the list below) made up of old and new faces, and everybody is looking for some concrete action with less politicking and more results.

The new parliamentary coalition consists of the Social Democratic Party (SDPK) , Ata Meken and Ar Namys, with the other two parties present in the Parliament — Ata Jurt and Respublika — in opposition. The new Prime Minister is Jantoro Satybaldiyev, a seasoned politician that has acted in various capacities under four different Presidents. 

Satybaldiyev is from the South and in 2000, after having been Minister of Communication under President Akayev (1997-2000), he was the mayor of Osh between 2001 and 2003. In March 2006, under President Bakiyev, he was appointed the Governor of Osh oblast, to be dismissed in November 2007, and in 2010, after the revolution, he became deputy Prime Minister under interim President Roza Otunbayeva. Later he was appointed General Director of the State Directorate for the Reconstruction and Development of the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad. Most recently, under President Atambayev, he was the head of the Presidential office.

Now regarding the new coalition, it is made up of three parties and has obtained the approval of 111 MPs out of the 113 that compose the Kyrgyz Parliament. But the opposition is strong and on paper it counts 51 MPs with 28 MPs of the Ata Jurt party of Mr. Tashiev and 23 from Respublika of former Prime Minister Babanov. Inside both parties there are clear signs of dissent not including the fact that several deputies of the opposition may vote in favour of the present coalition. Whatever the case there are reasons to believe that the new Government will have to perform in a swift and visible way if the support of the public is to be obtained.

Fighting corruption and implementing reforms and developing a strategy of growth remain the main objectives for Kyrgyzstan and a challenge that Prime Minister Satybaldiyev and First Deputy Prime Minister Otorbayev will have to face. Given the present situation in the country it will not be an easy task and as the new Prime Minister has said he will have to take “unpopular measures” to fight corruption and achieve growth, and this may also include changing some of the Ministers.  

Over the last 15 years the country has seen a succession of Governments and promises all to end up in a populist approach without any practical results with abuse from this or that party. Now everybody is talking about fighting corruption but in actual fact those that call to fight corruption are the same members of a certain elite that have been prospering within the system.

With any new Government, what was not done in the past should represent a learning experience for all forces involved, but this has not been the case in Kyrgyzstan due to lack of political will to change the situation, and the present economic downturn makes it imperative to adopt a new strategy. Certainly there are ways and means to implement an appropriate result oriented strategy that will not be just a declaration or proposal but can go further to concrete implementation.

The Prime Minister and his first Deputy are certainly aware of what went wrong in the past and it is up to them to draw the necessary conclusions out of the many lessons that this country has received in the past in order to implement those radical changes that are needed, starting from economic reforms and liberalization of the system with the aim of attracting and keeping investors in the country to reduce unemployment and migration while bringing down the present corruption of which former Prime Minister Babanov has been often accused.

Today given the difficult budget situation, increased unemployment and the lack of international credibility, resisting a lesson and continuing on the same way as before can only signify a new failure and the continuation of the present downturn conditions where all parties will prefer to treat the State only in consideration of their private interest in the tradition of the past abuses and corrupt system.

Managing the significant economic challenges that are surfacing everywhere needs a coordinate action of the entire Government. The so-called Matrix program of reforms that was put in place more than 10 years ago, when the new First Deputy Prime Minister Otorbayev was one of the vice Prime Ministers under President Akayev, is still a document to be taken into for consideration to eliminate economic barriers and obstacles.

Kyrgyzstan’s international profile has been raised during the last 10 years but two revolutions and a tragic ethnic conflict did not bring about positive change. Now the country has a democratic parliamentary system and if it is maintained and reinforced, it is important to achieve results that are not simply cosmetic but beneficial to the country. Otherwise, during the next election, or before, many will claim a return to the Presidential system with less democracy but probably with a better, more concrete outcome.

The new Kyrgyz Government

Prime Minister — Jantoro SatybaldiyevFirst Vice Prime Minister — Joomart Otorbayev (Ata Meken)
Vice Prime Minister for Economy and Investments — Tayirbek Sarpashev (SDPK)
Vice Prime Minister for Social Affairs — Kamila Talieva (Ar Namys)
Head of the Government’s Office with a ministerial status — Nurhanbek Momunaliev (SDPK)  
Chairman of the State Committee for National Security — Shamil Atakhanov
Minister of Economy — Temir Sariev (SDPK)
Minister of Interior Affairs — Zarylbek Rysaliev (SDPK)
Minister of Health — Dinara Sagynbaeva (SDPK)
Minister of Education and Science — Kanatbek Sydykov (SDPK)
Minister of Youth, Labor and Employment — Aliyasbek Alymkulov (SDPK)
Minister of Transport and Communications — Kalykbek Sultanov (Ata Meken)
Minister of Justice — Almambet Shykmamatov (Ata Meken)
Minister of Social Development — Kylychbek Sultanov (Ata Meken)
Minister of Finance — Olga Lavrova (Ar Namys)
Minister of Energy and Industry — Avtandil Kalmambetov
Minister of Foreign Affairs — Erlan Abdyldayev
Minister of Emergency Situations — Kubatbek Boronov (Respublika)
Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation — Chyngyzbek Uzakbaev (Ar Namys)
Minister of Culture and Tourism — Ibrahim Junusov (Ata-Jurt)
Minister of Defense — Taalaibek Omuraliev

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