Atambayev vows to ‘punish’ all those who plan ‘disturbances’ in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev

BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev has issued a strongly worded warning and vowed to punish anyone who causes “disturbances” in connection with the country’s October 15 presidential election to choose his successor, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Atambayev was speaking on August 30 in response to criticism over recent remarks in which opponents say he used his position to promote the candidacy of former Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a longtime ally.

He said that politicians accusing him of using the levers of power to support a favorite were “shaking up” stability in the country in order “not to allow a candidate proposed by Atambayev to become president.”

“Let’s not forget that until December 1, I will be this country’s president and I will have sufficient time to severely punish all of those who plan disturbances in our country,” said Atambayev, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a second term.

“Once, when I was in the opposition, I was scared of Almighty God alone. And now Kyrgyzstan’s people support me,” Atambayev said. “Do not play with fire, you will burn your hands — and not only hands.”

At a meeting with residents in the southern town of Ozgon on August 28, Atambayev called Jeenbekov his “friend” and suggested that Sapar Isakov, who became prime minister after Jeenbekov quit to run in the election, was his protege.

“After I leave my post, my friend may become the president. A young fellow whom I trained and raised was recently appointed prime minister…. I hope they will carry on my affairs and finish what I have undertaken,” Atambayev said.

Critics say Atambayev is looking for ways to maintain influence after he leaves office to make way for the winner of the election in the country of 6 million.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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