Kyrgyzstan president says ready to resign once new Cabinet appointed

Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has offered to resign following the unrest in the country.
Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has offered to resign following the unrest in the country.PHOTO: REUTERS

ALMATY (REUTERS) - Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbai Jeenbekov said on Friday (Oct 9) he was ready to resign once a new Cabinet was appointed to end the power vacuum in the Central Asian nation gripped by unrest since opposition supporters seized government buildings on Tuesday.

While his offer, made in a statement, could facilitate the transfer of power later, it may do little to resolve the political impasse, which prompted regional power Russia to describe Kyrgyzstan's situation as chaos.

After forcing the Cabinet to resign and the election commission to annul the results of Sunday's parliamentary election that triggered the protests, opposition groups have so far failed to agree on who would lead a provisional government.

They appeared to make the first step towards consolidating on Friday. Two rival candidates for the premiership, Mr Omurbek Babanov and Mr Tilek Toktogaziyev, said they would work together, with the latter becoming a deputy prime minister, and were backed by four parties, local news website 24.kz reported.

The third candidate, Mr Sadyr Zhaparov, backed by the Ata Zhurt party, had yet to comment on their move, and the positions of the remaining six parties that had denounced the election remained unclear.

The former Soviet republic's outgoing Parliament has also not convened or appointed one of at least three interim premier candidates, with some Members of Parliament saying they feared for their safety.

Two political parties close to Mr Jeenbekov swept Sunday's parliamentary vote, but at least 11 other parties refused to accept the results and Western observers said the election was marred by credible allegations of vote-buying.

The nation of 6.5 million borders China and hosts a Russian military air base and a large Canadian-owned mining operation.

Despite the state of uncertainty, with no legitimate leadership, veteran officials appeared to be in control of its security forces.

The State National Security Committee said on Friday neighbouring Uzbekistan had handed over to it three people who illegally crossed the border on Oct 6, when the previous government fell.

One of them was district mayor Tilek Matraimov, a member of the influential Matraimov family, which also includes his brothers Raimbek Matraimov, a former deputy head of customs, and Iskender Matraimov, a Member of Parliament.

Mr Iskender Matraimov sought reelection on the ticket of Mekenim Kyrgyzstan, one of the parties that dominated the now-annulled election.

The state security committee said Mr Tilek Matraimov and the two other men handed over by the Uzbek side were held while being investigated for illegal border-crossing.