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Central Asia news

Roza Otunbayeva: We do not insist on the president's resignation

02.04.2007 11:51 msk

Alla Pyatibratova

Interview Kyrgyzstan

Roza Otunbayeva. Photo by Ferghana.Ru
Roza Otunbayeva. Photo by Ferghana.Ru

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Roza Otunbayeva, the politician ex-president Askar Akayev called "locomotive force of the opposition" two years ago, met with Osh journalists. Otunbayeva is coordinator of the new Movement For United Kyrgyzstan established on March 27.

"Tension mounting with each passing day, the situation is truly extraordinary," Otunbayeva announced. "Leaders of the United Front For The Worthy Future (Front) claim that everything will be decided on April 11. It stands to reason to assume therefore that they intend to decide everything in the streets, and not at negotiations. The authorities have failed so far to come up with an adequate response to hunger strikes and permanent rallies. I do not mean to be overly dramatic, but all of the republic is waiting for embroilment..."

Here is an excerpt from the press release pronouncing establishment of the Movement for United Kyrgyzstan signed by Otunbayeva, Almazbek Atambayev, Edil Baisalov, Azimbek Beknazarov, and Dooronbek Sadyrbayev, "Were it not for the fact that the noble goals of the Front are suggested by the politicians directly responsible for the existing state of affairs, corruption, and lawlessness, they would have deserved everyone's support indeed. We deny Felix Kulov the moral right to come up with these slogans, since he is a man who miraculously recovered his sight only when expelled from the corridors of power. Where was Kulov when a carbon copy of Akayev's regime was being restored in the country step by step?"

Another excerpt, "How come Kulov never protested then? Why should Kulov be unaccountable for having paved the way for December revanche and never having said a word against the anti-democratic Constitution? Why was he so critical of the Movement For The Reforms last November, accusing us of the intention to incite civil confrontation and even pressing charges of an attempted coup? These days, Kulov intends to arrange rallies with even more radical slogans and in a more precarious situation when society may split and a conflict flare up. Are we not supposed to see that his own place in the corridors of power has always been more important for this politician than all democratic accomplishments and supremacy of the law, his pet subjects of late?"

"Society owes all this tension to the United Opposition Front," Otunbayeva continued. "Its leaders come up with ultimatums and maintain that they will solve all dramatic political issues instantly on within a month. These "methods of surgery" trouble us. They pose a danger to the authorities and to the people. Worse, they pose a danger to Kyrgyz statehood."

Otunbayeva then proceeded to explain what had caused a split in the Movement For The Reforms. According to the politician, the Movement had done a lot in the name of political stabilization. Its activists spoke against elevation of criminals into power structures, in May 2006. They forced the authorities to adopt a new Constitution, in November. They had President Kurmanbek Bakiyev meet their demands. He signed a decree to establish public TV, disbanded the government, sacked Prosecutor General Kambarly Kongantiyev, and agreed to have a new Constitution drafted. Unfortunately, the Movement itself found itself in disarray then.

Debates over whether or not to negotiate with the president proved futile and the Movement disintegrated. The Movement For United Kyrgyzstan became a buffer between the president and the opposition.

"We remain critical of the president. For the harm his tandem with Kulov did in splitting the country into the southern and northern regions. For the continued failure to keep promises concerning a war on corruption and family oligarchy, concerning restoration of trust in the regime, and concerning radical reforms. For the mistakes the president is still making," Otunbayeva said. "And yet, we are convinced that the rejection of negotiations with the president is a fatal tactic. Presidents are not to be toppled by rallies. State power must be passed down legitimately. We are not going to side up with the Front and join its April 11 rally. We do not even insist on Bakiyev's resignation. We want him to start doing his job instead. Bakiyev himself suggests that he and the opposition meet and talk everything over, but the latter wouldn't hear of it. Let me repeat it again: negotiations are the only way. We do not want a confrontation."

Leaders of the new movement disagree with the Front even in the views on the constitutional reforms. Let us stop changing its text again and again, Otunbayeva says. Let us draft one, have it discussed by the parliament in the first reading, and publish it for a public discussion. Let us have the Constitutional Court give its opinion. That's what it is for, after all.

"Meeting demands of the opposition, the president even agreed to have a coalition government formed," Otunbayeva said. "The new government is to be headed by Almazbek Atambayev of the opposition. I suspect that the new Cabinet will include key activists of the opposition. This government is supposed to be able to make the decisions that will enable the country to leave the crisis behind."

Otunbayeva herself denied any intention to join the government. She said she had already done her part for the country in the foreign minister's capacity. "We are not power-hungry here," Otunbayeva said and added that the new movement wanted new men in the government, the men up unblemished repute.

"We support the Movement For The Reforms in a lot of key issues - and in its initiatives," Otunbayeva said. "The Movement For United Kyrgyzstan wants the structure of the regime altered. We will keep track of the developments and adequately respond. We intend to strengthen the movement. Our movement includes representatives of seven political parties, non-governmental organizations, and some men of arts and scientists. We demand radical democratic reforms and first and foremost the constitutional reforms."