Kyrgyzstan: Japarov to become president

Three months ago, a violent transfer of power took place in Kyrgyzstan. Now a new president has been elected: according to the country's media, Sadyr Japarov, who took power after the unrest in October, won almost 80 percent of the vote. Commentators examine whether this means the end of the democratic progress made in recent years - or whether the president has bigger problems to deal with for the time being.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Democracy ousted

While the result sounds suspicious, the procedure seems to have been correct, the Frankfurter Rundschau comments:

“The people in Kyrgyzstan have had enough of the chaos of the past few years, and so they've chosen a nationalist populist with autocratic tendencies. Japarov has promised his compatriots that he will take tough action. To do that he secured additional powers by referendum. But this is what the people wanted, too. In other words, in Kyrgyzstan the people opted for a strong man at the top in a free election, because the majority had had enough of the deficits of the young democracy. This is all the more bitter given that this small mountainous republic was long a glimmer of hope in Central Asia. But that's over now. For the time being.”

The Economist (GB) /

Crackdown on crime and corruption will take time

Despite his resounding victory, Japarov will not have an easy time of things, The Economist believes:

“Mr Japarov will need all the consensus he can muster if he is to make a success of the job. The pandemic has prompted a surge in unemployment. Foreign investors are spooked by mob attacks on businesses during the unrest in October. Russia and China, the dominant powers in the region, are also upset about the tumult. Organised crime and corruption are blights that he insists he will fight, but that others accuse him of complicity with - a claim he dismisses as a political smear. It will take a couple of years to fulfil his promise of better lives for his long-suffering people, Mr Japarov warns. With two of his predecessors in exile and another languishing in jail, the stakes are high.”