Scandal sparks new round of confrontation between president and parliament in Kyrgyzstan
|Publication Date||12 September 2006|
|Cite as||EurasiaNet, Scandal sparks new round of confrontation between president and parliament in Kyrgyzstan, 12 September 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46cc32222c.html [accessed 18 April 2015]|
A scandal in which the state's security service stands accused of planting drugs on the former parliament speaker is renewing the feud in Kyrgyzstan between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Members of Kyrgyz parliament convened a special hearing on September 11 in connection with the scandal, which erupted September 6 with the arrest of former parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev in Poland on a drug smuggling charge. Polish authorities found heroin crudely stashed inside a matryoshka doll packed in Tekebayev's luggage. After an investigation determined that the drugs had been planted, a Polish court set Tekebayev free and he returned to Kyrgyzstan early on September 12.
Immediately after word spread of Tekebayev's arrest, opposition politicians insisted he had been set up. During the parliamentary hearing, MPs reviewed evidence implicating the National Security Service (NSS), specifically the president's brother and security service deputy chief, Janysh Bakiyev, in the framing of Tekebayev. Among the evidence was videotape taken at Bishkek's Manas airport showing a high-ranking airport official taking Tekebayev's luggage away and then returning with it a short while later. Also presented was a written statement by the airport deputy director, Nadir Mamirov, who claimed that Janysh Bakiyev had personally instructed that heroin be placed in Tekebayev's luggage
The revelations forced the resignations of Janysh Bakiyev and the head of the NSS, Busurmankul Tabaldiyev. Both, however, denied specific involvement in a conspiracy to frame Tekebayev.
MPs also demanded an explanation from President Bakiyev, who declined to meet with the legislators, citing a "busy schedule." MPs also demanded that the president explain reports that he met in late July with Boris Berezovsky, a Russian tycoon now wanted by Moscow on criminal charges. According to reports, Berezovsky flew to Bishkek from his home in London. If such a meeting did indeed occur, Bakiyev may have violated international agreements by not taking action to arrest and extradite Berezovsky to Moscow.
Some MPs said that if President Bakiyev declined to comply with parliament's request for an explanation, they would organize a mass rally for September 15.
One MP, Kabai Karabekov, was quoted by the 24.kg information agency as calling for President Bakiyev's resignation. "He doesn't have the moral right to lead the country," Karabekov said.
The parliament considered a resolution calling for the resignations of President Bakiyev, Prime Minister Feliks Kulov and other government officials. A vote was expected to be taken within the coming days.
Comments attributed to President Bakiyev and posted on the presidential website indicated that a government commission would be established soon to investigate the scandal. "What has happened proves that, unfortunately, there are people in Kyrgyzstan who do not like stability in the nation," President Bakiyev was quoted as saying.
The scandal would appear to give parliament momentum in its long-running power struggle with president. A bout of maneuvering between the legislative and executive branches in February resulted in Tekebayev's resignation as speaker. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Now, at the very least, opposition MPs hope the recent turn of events will force Bakiyev to take action to curb rampant corruption in Kyrgyzstan. During the spring of this year, opposition politicians attempted to foster a series of mass rallies in an effort to pressure Bakiyev on the corruption issue. But the rally strategy sputtered after failing to attract significant public support, enabling President Bakiyev to gain the upper hand in the power struggle. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
Posted September 12, 2006 © Eurasianet