Fresh resistance as Kyrgyz leaders reveal 'road map'

Kyrgyzstan's interim rulers pledged fresh elections and reforms to restore order in the volatile Central Asian state.

Fresh resistance as Kyrgyz leaders reveal 'road map'

Kyrgyzstan's interim rulers faced renewed resistance and lawlessness on Monday after pledging fresh elections and reforms to restore order in the volatile Central Asian state.

Almost two weeks after Kyrgyz leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a revolt, fresh turbulence hit the capital Bishkek, with about 1,000 stone-throwing men rioting in the suburbs, according to Reuters reporters.

Bakiyev sought refuge in neighbouring Kazakhstan last week, but was on the move again on Monday. The Kazakh foreign ministry said he had left the country for an unknown destination.

Riots erupted on Monday after crowds of angry men tried to take advantage of the power vacuum following the April 7 revolt to seize lands belonging to residents of villages predominantly populated by ethnic Russians and Meskhetian Turks.

The interim government says it will not use force against them, adding it would set up a commission to look into ways of resolving the dispute.

In the south, Bakiyev's tribal stronghold, hundreds protested in the city of Jalalabad demanding his return.

Led by ex-foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, the new government acted to stamp its authority on the country on Monday, unveiling a reform plan to restore democracy and hold free presidential elections in late September or early October.

It says its forces now control the entire country, but the latest surge of unrest has threatened its authority.

"Pro-Bakiyev rally"

In Bishkek, a crowd armed with sticks faced off with police in the suburbs, torching three police vans and a police station.

A witness said he saw two people with head wounds being carried away from the scene of the battles over land.

In Jalalabad, Bakiyev loyalists seized a regional government office over the weekend and about 1,500 supporters rallied in the city square on Monday.

"Bakiyev is our legitimate president!" shouted the crowd, some holding banners reading "The opposition spilt blood to grab power". Others gave out leaflets calling for Bakiyev's return.

A Reuters reporter in Jalalabad said there were no police around and Bakiyev supporters walked in and out of the government building freely.

"Road map"


Omurbek Tekebayev, an interim premier, said the government had prepared a one-year road map of changes to the constitution and free parliamentary and presidential elections around late September or early October.

"The provisional government has worked out a democratic development plan tentatively dubbed 'The return to democracy'," he told a group of non-government activists and reporters.

Tekebayev, in charge of constitutional reform, said Kyrgyzstan will invite U.N. officials to join the Central Election Commission in order to maximise transparency.

As for constitutional reform, Tekebayev said he would cut presidential powers substantially to create a parliamentary republic with strong checks and balances, adding that details were still being debated in the interim government.

He said that constitutional changes would be put to a referendum later this year. He added that the interim government would work closely with human rights and non-government organisations during the reform period.

No one in the provisional government has voiced ambitions to run for the presidency. Roza Otunbayeva, the interim chief and former foreign minister, will remain in her seat until the snap presidential election.

The new government has yet to be formally recognised globally. It says it allowed Bakiyev to escape in order to avoid civil war. At least 84 people died during the revolt.

The interim administration says Bakiyev had transferred $200 million of state money out of the country, a big sum for its $4.7 billion economy.


Agencies

Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2010, 16:28
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