Kyrgyzstan's upcoming elections are an opportunity to promote peace and prosperity

JANUARY 14, 2014—Kyrgyzstan has several local elections approaching. The country also has a lot of pending issues that main to be resolved. The combination of the two—the elections and the issues—could make the country even more unstable, says Stratfor.

Many countries such as Russia and China, and even western nations, will be watching the elections.

Bishkek and Osh

Bishkek is located in northern Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek is located in northern Kyrgyzstan.

The most important cities in Kyrgyzstan are Bishkek and Osh. They each have the largest populations in their respective regions, north and south, and they serve as central political locations.

Bishkek has a mayoral election on January 15. One of the problems is that the city decided to nominate the candidates, rather than voters doing so.

It is important to note that the city of Osh has also served as a geographic focal point in tension between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. Uzbek people are a minority in the southern Kyrgyzstan.

North vs. south

Tension between the north and south has been a dominant theme. The first president of Kyrgyzstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Askar Akayev, was from the northern part of the country. He had relatively weak support from people living in southern Kyrgyzstan. Eventually, President Akayev left office after the south launched the “Tulip Revolution” in 2005.

The next president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was from the south. But again, like with Akayev before him, people from the opposite region rebelled. In 2010, President Bakiyev was kicked out of office.

Transition to a parliamentary system

Osh is located in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Osh is located in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Once Bakiyev was gone, the country transitioned to a parliamentary government system. The current president, Almazbek Atambayev, has acted carefully to avoid overreaching and inciting regional conflict. However, tension in the country is still high, and there have been frequent protests over a wide range of issues including the jailing of southern political figures.

At the Bisignis Institute, we want to see peace and economic prosperity flourish in Kyrgyzstan. 

Source: Kyrgyzstan: Mayoral Elections Could Further Strain Political Stability | Stratfor