Wednesday 5 October 2011

Key elections in a divided country

There is now less than one month to go to the October 30 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, a country that is still shaken after the violence that took place in June 2010, mainly between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the south, and that eventually led to the fall of president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. These are key elections – not only because there is a fear of more violence, but because the results will show the future of the Parliamentarian system in place in the small Central Asian republic since last year. Never before such system was tried in the region, that for centuries has been ruled for despotic leaders. Should the Kyrgyz experience is successful, and we have free and fair elections with no violence, this might be the dawn of a true new era in the region, sending a message to some of its neighbours (mainly the Uzbek leader Islam Karimov) that it is possible to follow a different path. But this is a country still divided and there is the chance of a polarising North-South face-off on the second round – with, possibly, a nationalist candidate taking part on the ballot. Here is a good analysis on the Kyrgyz situation.

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