Thursday, March 24, 2005

Kyrgyzstan Government Ovethrown

BBC reports that the president's palace was stormed. Link.
The opposition in Kyrgyzstan says it has taken control of the capital, Bishkek, after overrunning the president's palace.

Protesters confronted supporters of President Askar Akayev before flooding into government offices.

A prominent Kyrgyz opposition leader, Felix Kulov, made a televised appeal for calm after being freed from jail. (...)

Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court has annulled February's controversial elections and recognised the former parliament as the legitimate legislature, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted court chairman, Kurmanbek Osmonov, as saying.

Ireland On Line further reports:
Embattled Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev and his family have left Kyrgyzstan’s capital by helicopter, heading toward Kazakhstan, the Interfax news agency reported today.

Interfax said Akayev had flown to Russia.

It seems like there has been a sharp acceleration in the time line between phony elections in autocratic former-Soviet republics and the overthrow of those governments. However, this one happened so fast that I worry about what will follow. There was little or no time for planning a replacement. The best case will be for the former parliament to act as interim government and run the country while new and honest elections are organized. The worst case will be civil war between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz or between the radical Islamic groups and the rest of the country. Western diplomacy should give high priority to seeing that the best case prevails.


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