BISHKEK (TCA) — The new President of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, has awarded his predecessor Almazbek Atambayev with the title of a National Hero.
Kyrgyzstan’s presidential administration said on November 27 that the title — Hero of the Kyrgyz Nation and White Falcon Medal — was bestowed upon the former president for “his contributions to the strengthening of Kyrgyz statehood”.
Atambayev was constitutionally barred from seeking a second term as president.
Jeenbekov, who was inaugurated on November 24, had been Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister under Atambayev from April 2016 to August 2017.
Jeenbekov is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), founded by Atambayev. In line with the Kyrgyz laws, Jeenbekov has suspended his membership of the party following the inauguration.
Official results show Jeenbekov won Kyrgyzstan’s October 15 presidential election with 54 percent of the first-round vote — enough to avoid a runoff — following a campaign in which critics said the outgoing president used the courts, law enforcement, and other levers of power to ensure Jeenbekov’s victory, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.
Jeenbekov’s main rival Omurbek Babanov won just under 34 percent of the vote. He has alleged the election was marred by violations and fled the country to avoid prosecution on charges that he incited ethnic hatred during the campaign.
International election monitors said “numerous and significant problems were noted” during the vote count and that “misuse of public resources, pressure on voters, and vote buying remain a concern.”