Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov resigns after unrest

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“For me, peace in Kyrgyzstan, the integrity of the country, the unity of our people and tranquility in society are above all. There is nothing dearer to me than the lives of each of my compatriots, ”Jeenbekov said in an announcement posted on the presidential website.

“I don’t cling to power. I don’t want to stay in the history of Kyrgyzstan as a president who spilled blood and shot his own citizens. Therefore, I decided to quit. ”

Jeenbekov is the third president of Kyrgyzstan, a small Central Asian country on the border with China, to be removed from office after a popular uprising since 2005. The protests began on October 4, when the opposition rejected the results of a parliamentary election in which the allies of Jeenbekov claimed victory.

In the statement, Jeenbekov addressed Sadyr Japarov, one of the opposition leaders who was appointed prime minister on Wednesday, urging him to withdraw his supporters from the capital Bishkek and restore peace to the city. Japarov was previously in exile but returned to Kyrgyzstan in 2017, according to the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti. He was then arrested and jailed for 11 years but released by protesters a few days ago.

Rally of Japarov supporters

Following Jeenbekov’s resignation, the Speaker of Parliament Kanatbek Isayev would assume presidential powers. If he also resigned, powers would pass to Japarov, Reuters reported.

Hundreds of Japarov’s supporters gathered about 700 meters from the presidential residence. As the news of Jeenbekov’s resignation reached them, they began chanting “Parliament must go!” “And” Isayev must go! ”

The prime minister’s spokesperson declined to say whether Japarov would now pressure the speaker to step down.

Dastan Bekeshev, a lawmaker who does not support either Jeenbekov or Japarov, told Reuters by phone: “The president could not hold out. He is very weak. No mind. We don’t know what will happen next, no one can say what will happen. ”

Kyrgyzstan is home to both a Russian military base and a large Canadian-owned gold mine. Moscow, which sees the former Soviet space as its sphere of influence, said it would be responsible for ensuring stability in Kyrgyzstan and warned that it could descend into chaos.

Russia also faces instability in three other former Soviet states: Belarus, where a contested election sparked protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, and Armenia and Azerbaijan, who are vying for control of a enclave.

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