Former prime minister Babanov nominated as presidential candidate in Kyrgyzstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The parliamentary faction of Respublika—Ata-Jurt party on February 14 nominated its leader Omurbek Babanov as its candidate in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election scheduled for this fall.

Babanov, 47, was Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister in 2011-2012.

His party holds 28 of the 120 parliament seats and is not part of the ruling coalition comprising President Almazbek Atambayev’s Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), the Kyrgyzstan party, and the Bir Bol (Be United) party.

Although the official status of Babanov’s party is opposition, its leadership has not voiced much criticism of the ruling coalition, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

Two other prominent politicians — former Prime Minister Temir Sariyev, who leads Ak-Shumkar (White Falcon) party, and Onuguu-Progress party leader Bakyt Torobayev, have also announced plans to run for president.

Torobayev was nominated at his party’s congress on February 10.

Torobayev, 44, is the leader of Onuguu-Progress’s faction in the Kyrgyz parliament.
 
Temir Sariyev announced that he will run for president at his Ak Shumkar party’s conference on February 4.

Sariyev, 53, served as prime minister from May 2015 through April 2016, when he resigned after several parliament members accused his cabinet of corruption.

Kyrgyzstan is the only country in Central Asia in which the president is limited to a single term.

Incumbent President Almazbek Atambayev has said publicly that he would not seek political office, including the post of the prime minister, after his presidential term ends.

In December, Kyrgyzstan held a constitutional referendum which approved 26 amendments, including changes shifting key powers from the president to the prime minister.

The move has been criticized by Atambayev’s opponents, who suspect it is designed to pave the way for him to stay in power after his term ends following the election this year.

Sergey Kwan

TCA