Opposition forces seize government in Kyrgyzstan post-election protests

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Oct. 6 (UPI) — Opposition groups in Kyrgyzstan took hold of much of the country’s government amid post-election protests Tuesday, but the president remained at the helm.

Protesters stormed the Parliament building, known as the White House, and released a number of political detainees in the wake of a parliamentary election which they said was rigged to benefit parties with ties to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

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The opposition government said it set up a coordination council to discuss who would serve in a provisional government.

Opposition groups freed Sadyr Japarov, a politician jailed for charges of hostage-taking during unrest in 2013, and proposed he serve as interim prime minister.

They also released former President Almazbek Atambayev, who was jailed on corruption charges after a conflict with Jeenbekov but did not name him to any role.

In a statement published on his Facebook account, the pro-Kremlin president described the acts of protesters who broke into the buildings in the capital of Bishkek as an illegal attempt to seize state power. He said he ordered security forces to not open fire to prevent bloodshed and claimed that they have taken “all possible measures” to prevent the situation from worsening.

Demonstrators clashed with riot police Monday night, resulting in at least one death and 590 people injured, the health ministry said, according to AKI Press.

“I urge the leaders of political party leaders to calm their supporters and move them away from their places of concentration. I call on all my compatriots to keep the peace and not give in to the calls of the provocative forces,” Jeenbekov said in the statement released hours after opposition forces freed the senior politicians from the National Security Committee jail. “I call on all forces to put the fate of the country above political ambitions and return to the legal field.”

Jeenbekov in an interview with BBC called on protesters to return to the “legitimate field” to avoid further unrest.

“To solve this issue, I am ready to give the responsibility to strong leaders, no matter which group they belong to. I am even ready to help them,” he said.

He said he has also ordered the Central Election Commission to investigate Sunday’s parliamentary elections and, “if necessary, annul the results.”

The Central Election Commission annulled the results of the election “in consideration of the political situation in the country” and Parliament held an extraordinary session in the capital of Biskek to replace the government while demonstrators hurled stones at the windows.

Protests in the city erupted Monday after the parliamentary election results were released, stating that four of the 16 parties in the election had secured 7% of the vote necessary for entry into Parliament with three of the four having close ties to Jeenbekov, the BBC reported.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a 16-page report on Monday that the elections were generally “well run and candidates could campaign freely.”

However, opposition parties and candidates have voiced allegations of vote buying, which the international security organization said was “a serious concern.”

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