Kyrgyz President Surunbay Genbekov strengthened his grip on power on Saturday, reshuffling senior security officials, and arresting his main opponent, former President Mozambique Atambayev, again a few days after his release from prison.
The president’s allies in Parliament voted to choose a new prime minister, in a step towards getting out of what Russia – its close ally – described as a state of political chaos.
Unrest has gripped the country since the controversial elections on 4 October, the results of which were later canceled.
Representatives voted to name the only candidate Sadr Jabarov, the 51-year-old opposition politician, who was accused by some opposition factions of joining Genbekov.
Genbekov fired senior Security Council officials who either supported his opponents or did not intervene when the opposition said on Tuesday it was seizing power in the Central Asian country.
More than 1,200 people have been injured, and one person has been killed in street clashes since the outbreak of protests on Monday, after elections in which pro-power parties declared a landslide victory.
New Prime Minister
Parliament met on Saturday to select Jabbarov at the presidential palace on the outskirts of Bishkek, after his headquarters was looted by protesters who seized important government buildings on Tuesday.
Jabbarov previously served as an advisor to another former president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was succeeded by Atambayev in 2011.
On Tuesday, Atambayev’s supporters released him from prison where he was serving a long sentence for corruption, and said he survived an assassination attempt on Friday.
The state security agency said it had re-arrested Atambayev on charges of inciting unrest.
Prior to his appointment as prime minister, Jabarov called for constitutional reforms before new presidential and parliamentary elections were held.
Jabarov told Parliament that Genbekov had assured him of his intention to resign once the new government was approved, and said that there would be no changes to the cabinet composition.
Before parliament voted to nominate Jabbarov, the speaker of parliament resigned, meaning that Jabarov would assume presidential powers if Genbekov resigned.
On Friday, supporters of Jabbarov clashed with supporters of other parties running for the politician Omar Bey Babanov, and many of them were injured, among them a politician running for the position of Babanov’s deputy.
The opposition is divided between 11 parties representing tribal interests in a country that has already seen the ouster of two presidents in two popular revolutions since 2005.