Kurmanbek Bakiyev


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(b. Masadan, Kyrgiz SSR, 1 Aug. 1949)

Kyrgyz; President of Kyrgystan 2005–  From the southern province of Jalalabad, Bakiyev studied electrical engineering in Russia and then served for two years in the Russian army. He returned to Jalalabad in 1979, but did not become involved in politics until 1990. By 1995 he was governor of Jalalabad province and by 2000 was Prime Minister. He resigned in 2002 after a violent crackdown on a demonstration in Jalalabad, in which five people were killed, was criticized. He became acting President after the ‘Tulip Revolution’ removed President Akayev in 2005 and he was the overwhelming winner of a presidential election later in the year. It was hoped that he would tackle corruption and revive the economy, but his administration was unable to act strongly because of disagreements with parliament, and political violence continued in the country. In 2007 he won massive support for a new constitution that enhanced his powers in a referendum (the fairness of which was disputed) and, in the general election that followed, his new party Ak Zhol won most of the seats while, as a result of complex electoral rules, the main opposition party won no seats. The economy declined further and in 2009 Russia agreed to loan $2 billion. Bakiyev required the USA to leave the Manas airbase which they used as their main logistics base for forces in Afghanistan. Bakiyev continues to suppress the opposition while forging stronger bonds with Russia.

Subjects: Politics.

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