BISHKEK (TCA) — Asylbek Jeenbekov, a Kyrgyz lawmaker and brother of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, has quit the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) chaired by former President Almazbek Atambayev, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.
Jeenbekov announced his decision in parliament on April 3, saying the SDPK had turned into a party in which “one person’s dictatorship is prevailing,” a clear reference to Atambayev.
“Today, the SDPK is failing to implement its mission because of internal intrigues. And there are attempts to get me involved in those intrigues. But I will not be involved in them,” Jeenbekov said.
Also on April 3, some 300 activists who created a splinter group within the party called SDPK Without Atambayev, held a gathering in Bishkek, which they called the SDPK’s 8th Congress, at which they elected Sagynbek Abdrakhmanov as party leader.
Meanwhile, the Atambayev-led SDPK announced earlier that the party’s 8th Congress will be held on April 6.
On March 18, Atambayev’s SDPK announced it would join the opposition.
The SDPK is the largest political party within the Central Asian nation’s ruling parliamentary coalition, which also comprises the Kyrgyzstan Party, Ata-Meken (Fatherland), and Onuguu-Progress.
The party has been in crisis for a year after party members launched the SDPK Without Atambayev campaign in the wake of a rift between Atambayev and Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who was elected in October 2017 as an SDPK candidate.
According to law, Sooronbai Jeenbekov suspended his membership in the SDPK after he was sworn in as president.
On March 17, Atambayev issued a public apology for helping to bring Jeenbekov to power, likening his one-time ally to an autocrat.
The SDPK deputy chairwoman, lawmaker Irina Karamushkina, said in February that Atambayev will lead the party’s list of candidates for next year’s parliamentary elections.