BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan votes for a new parliament on Sunday, a year after an earlier election triggered riots which toppled the government.
After a low-key campaign, political analysts expect the vote to favour allies of President Sadyr Japarov, cementing his grip on the Central Asian nation with close ties to Russia and China.
A Russian military airbase located in Kyrgyzstan allows Moscow to project power throughout the broader region and to locations such as Afghanistan.
Japarov, 52, came to power during the turmoil following the October 2020 parliamentary elections, the results of which a number of political parties refused to accept.
Freed from prison where he was serving a sentence for a political stunt which involved kidnapping a provincial governor, Japarov became prime minister within days and then successfully ran for president on a nationalist and populist platform.
Aside from pushing through a constitutional reform strengthening the presidency, Japarov’s major step so far has been the de facto nationalisation of the giant Kumtor gold field which was operated by Canada’s Centerra Gold, precipitating an ongoing legal battle.
Japarov has maintained the former Soviet republic’s traditionally close ties with Russia and dismissed suggestions of allowing the United States to establish a military base in the country in addition to the existing Russian facility.
This week the state security service headed by Japarov’s close ally said it had prevented a coup planned by a group of unnamed former senior officials and parliament members.
About 1,300 candidates from 21 political parties are contesting 90 parliamentary seats in Sunday’s vote under a mixed system where some seats are assigned to constituencies and others distributed between parties.
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