The state news agency, Kabar, on Tuesday announced that Kyrgyzstan’s recent parliamentary elections were annulled by the nation’s electoral authority in the wake of the president’s office building being stormed by demonstrators.
According to the agency, protesters alleged that Sunday’s votes were manipulated to ensure the dominance of political parties loyal to President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which had independently monitored the voting, said there were reported irregularities, including “credible allegations of vote-buying.”
Kabar reported that thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bishkek after the official results were announced on Monday. Part of the president’s office building was set on fire.
The agency said that the protesters managed to free the country’s former president, Almazbek Atambayev, from custody inside the national security committee building.
Atambayev, who served as president from 2011 to 2017, was taken into custody in 2019 on corruption allegations that surfaced amid a personal rivalry with his successor, Jeenbekov.
Jeenbekov in an address to the nation sued for the restoration of peace.
He added that he had directed the law enforcement personnel to refrain from opening fire on civilians.
“I ordered the law enforcement agencies to not open fire or shed blood so as not to endanger the life of any citizen,’’ Jeenbekov said, according to a statement posted on his website.
The mayor of Bishkek, Aziz Surakmatov, announced his resignation on Tuesday.
The Central Election Commission is expected within the next two weeks to announce a date for new elections.
According to the previous official results, now annulled, the front-runners in the election are two broadly pro-government parties.
The Democratic Socialist Birimdik (Unity) Party and the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (My Homeland Kyrgyzstan) Party, each with about a quarter of the votes.
The voting for the 120-seat national parliament was a test of the country’s close ties with regional power: Russia.
The Birimdik party, most closely associated with Jeenbekov, is said to be touting ties with Russia as part of its campaign pitch.
Kyrgyzstan’s leadership has been reinforcing its relationship with Russia in recent years under the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union and the post-Soviet military alliance of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
Jeenbekov met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Russian city of Sochi just days before the elections.
He was said then to have denounced opposition movements that had opposed the close ties as infringing on Kyrgyzstan’s independence.
According to an official transcript, Jeenbekov told Putin on Sept. 28 that “Russia’s backing is essential for us. I would like to thank you for this assistance. We have always treasured our historical, time-tested relationship.’’
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Peter Dada