New Kyrgyz leader to investigate his own revolution
Bakiyev Set to Launch Probe in Kyrgyzstan
By KADYR TOKTOGULOV
Associated Press Writer
March 29, 2005, 9:00 AM EST
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Acting President Kurmanbek
Bakiyev announced plans Tuesday for an investigation
into last week's storming of the government
headquarters, which led to President Askar Akayev's
ouster and his own appointment as interim leader.
Akayev reportedly told a Moscow radio station Tuesday
that he was the only "legitimate" leader of his
country and would not resign.
"I'm in Russia, outside Moscow," Akayev said in an
interview broadcast on Moscow's Ekho Moskvyi radio.
"I've not resigned as president. I am the only elected
and legitimate president of Kyrgyzstan. At the moment,
I don't see any reason or justification to resign."
The voice sounded like Akayev, but there was no
immediate way to confirm it was indeed the Kyrgyz
Bakiyev, who has repeatedly said that protesters who
gathered near Akayev's offices Thursday had no plans
to storm the building, told presidential
administration staff to draft a decree creating a
commission to investigate the seizure.
The move by Bakiyev appeared to be aimed at distancing
himself from the actions of protesters who overran the
building, known as the White House, which was
ransacked by rowdy demonstrators before more senior
opposition members restored order. The seizure was
followed by widespread looting in the capital for two
"I hope you clearly understand that nobody planned the
seizure of the White House," the former opposition
leader told administration members and employees --
many of whom served under Akayev.
"I ask the president's office to prepare a project of
a decree urgently to establish a state commission to
investigate what happened. We have to know and people
have to know why this happened, who is to blame. ...
We just can't leave it all like this."
But Akayev disputed Bakiyev's account, saying, "From
the very beginning, the opposition planned to seize
power, not just stage peaceful rallies."
Also Tuesday, lawmakers ended a damaging battle for
legitimacy between rival parliaments, boosting
prospects for political stability.
Legislators from the Central Asian nation's previous
parliament had struggled for supremacy against newly
elected rivals since Akayev's government was toppled.
The old parliament's upper house ended its defiance
and disbanded Tuesday, one day after a similar move by
its lower house, deferring to a new legislature packed
with lawmakers who had Akayev's support during the
disputed elections that fueled the push for his
The move apparently signaled a measure of
accommodation between the old elite and the former
opposition leaders now in charge of the country, who
swung their support behind the new parliament and
called for the old one to disband.
Bakiyev praised the move.
"You have taken the right and historic decision. I
hope your decision will bring calm," he said.
In his radio interview, Akayev said the newly elected
parliament was the only legitimate government in the
"In Kyrgyzstan, the only legitimate authority is the
new parliament, the interim government is not
legitimate," he said.
Akayev did not mention Bakiyev in his interview.
Opposition-led protesters had risen up against
Akayev's government over allegations of vote-rigging
in parliamentary elections held in February and March,
and many opposition supporters felt the newly elected
legislature should be overthrown along with Akayev.
The old parliament had reconvened hours after the
Thursday's takeover, and won the blessing of the
Supreme Court. But the new parliament secured the
backing of country's election commission over the
weekend, and at the height of the conflict, the two
parliaments held competing sessions on separate floors
of the same building.
Bakiyev was chosen acting president and prime minister
by the old parliament. On Monday, the new legislature
named him prime minister as well, and he declared the
new parliament Kyrgyzstan's legitimate legislature.
A new presidential election is scheduled for June 26.
Bakiyev, who maintains that about 20 of the 75 seats
in the new parliament are in dispute, reiterated
pledges that those races would be reviewed by the
courts and Central Election Commission.
"We cannot dissolve the whole parliament," he said.
The parliamentary dispute had threatened to plunge the
impoverished nation of 5 million people deeper into
crisis after the ouster of Akayev, whose popular
support dwindled during a 15-year rule marked by
increasing authoritarianism and corruption
Akayev fled to Russia last week after the protesters
seized his headquarters.
The opposition accused Akayev's government of
manipulating the elections to give him a compliant
legislature so that he could stay in power longer than
allowed under the constitution.
Kyrgyzstan is the third former Soviet republic in the
past 18 months -- after Georgia and Ukraine -- where
the opposition was swept to power after mass protests
against long-entrenched leaders.
Strategically located, it hosts both U.S. and Russian
military bases. It shares a border with China, has
been a conduit for drugs and is a potential hotbed of