Sun, Jun 05, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Former Kyrgyz president blamed for uprising

AP , Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

A Kyrgyz state commission has concluded that former President Askar Akayev was to blame for allowing the "widespread lawlessness" that sparked a March 24 popular uprising, which led to his ouster.

The commission of Cabinet members and civic activists said the unrest, which it called the "People's Revolution," was also sparked by parliamentary elections rigged to elect a compliant legislature and extend Akayev's term.

The "main condition for the fall of the government was a widespread lawlessness at all levels of the state power and the society," the commission said.

The March uprising sent Akayev fleeing to Russia and brought former opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power. He is now seen as a front-runner in the July 10 presidential election.

Akayev has rejected accusations that he manipulated the parliamentary vote in which his daughter and son won seats. He had also denied his refusal to hold a dialogue triggered his ouster from office.

The commission, which the new government set up to calm the country's political situation, said authorities, with Akayev's instructions, intended to rig the spring election to yield a "pocket" legislature.

"One of the reasons that caused the People's Revolution ... was unjust and fraudulent parliamentary elections," the commission said. "The true reason for the authorities' interference in the electoral process was to form a compliant majority in parliament and in the end extend Akayev's term for 5 more years."

The commission said that the concentration of power in one person's hands made the government unable to communicate with people and public institutions. It said Akayev had personally controlled the conduct of the parliamentary elections.

"The economy had worked to increase the income of the president's family and people close to him, but not for the development and state budget," it said. "The government led by Akayev had lately taken a course of usurpation of power."

The commission made a number of recommendations to improve the impoverished Central Asian nation's social and political issues, and it said next month's presidential vote would be key to rebuild the country's future.

"The readiness to hold fair and transparent presidential election is a required condition to form a new architecture of the social and political structure of Kyrgyzstan's future," it said.

Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished nation of 5 million people, was the latest former Soviet republic to face popular protests. Massive demonstrations ushered the opposition into power in Ukraine last year and in Georgia in 2003.

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