''Sooronbay Jeenbekov is a typical official, who found himself as president of Kyrgyzstan''
Expert in CIS countries Arkady Dubnov tells about the favourite of Atambayev, the administrative resources in the election and the new president of the Central Asian republic
On 15 October, Kyrgyzstan held the presidential election. According to the CEC, the leading position with more than 50% of the votes was taken by former Prime Minister and candidate of the ruling party Sooronbai Jeenbekov. At the request of Realnoe Vremya, a famous Russian journalist, expert for CIS countries Arkady Dubnov told about what kind of politician Jeenbekov is, what to expect from his presidency, whether it is true that the election was ''open and transparent'' and whether current president of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev delegate the power after his term ends.
''The incumbent president voted not so much for his favourite as against his main rival''
Mr Dubnov, was you surprised that the leading position was taken by Sooronbai Jeenbekov?
This result was not a big surprise but, in my opinion, it would be much more fair if he won in the second round. Judging by the character of election preparations and huge administrative resources, the pressure on voters was very heavy — it is in order to ensure Jeenbekov the victory in the first round. In the second round it would have been more difficult to defeat, for example, his main competitor Omurbek Babanov. For me, the announcement of Sooronbay Zheenbekov as the winner in the first round of the presidential election means that he won together with the administrative resource.
The CIS observers found the election of the president of Kyrgyzstan ''open and transparent'', the candidates themselves call it ''democratic''. How would you assess the election?
After many years of work of the Mission of CIS Observers, I do not remember any election that would have seemed to them unfair, so it's not an indicator, and you understand this perfectly. I assess the election in Kyrgyzstan as relatively transparent, but hardly fair. On the one hand, it is unique — up to the first results we could not accurately name the winner. It is the intrigue testifying of a competitive vote.
''The current president of the country, who is considered to be a ''lame duck'' as 1 December is the deadline of his term, voted not so much for his favourite and successor Sooronbay Zheenbekov as against his main competitor — Omurbek Babanov.'' Photo: knews.kg
On the other hand, despite internal democratic and competitive image of this election, a unique precedent, which does not make them look good, was the use of administrative resources, what is more — by the head of the state himself. The current president of the country, who is considered to be a ''lame duck'' as 1 December is the deadline of his term, voted not so much for his favourite and successor Sooronbay Zheenbekov as against his main competitor — Omurbek Babanov. He did not hesitate to resort to blatant methods of black PR: he insulted Babanov, defamed, laid against him unbelievable charges. Yesterday, on the election day, dropping his ballot in the ballot box, Mr Atambayev allowed himself to call Babanov a ''scum'', ''boot-licker'', ''babanchik''. This vulgar, unbearable and unacceptable methods of fear-mongering do not give a reason to respect either the president or the atmosphere he created in the country, intimidating the electorate and the supporters of Babanov.
Undoubtedly, this election seems a kind of step forward from the standpoint that at least it did take place — the opposition candidate was not removed. However, today is the first day after the election, and we don't know how the incumbent president will behave himself, who has previously threatened to punish the opponents of his favourite with red-hot iron. A ''witch-hunt'' — that is the danger of the upcoming period. It is obvious that there will be no coup, of which Atambayev accused Omurbek Babanov. The resource for such ''creative'' movement from the bottom in Kyrgyzstan has been exhausted for today. The passionarity of the Kyrgyz voters is very low. Perhaps the most passionary voters are now outside the country as labor migrants, what is more — the majority of them are unable to participate in the vote due to the lack of biometric data — fingerprints.
''Jeenbekov is a typical official, who by quirk of fate turned out to be the president''
Mr Dubnov, what do you think, will Almazbek Atambayev delegate the power after resigning as president? Or he will continue to control political and economic processes in Kyrgyzstan?
Of course, he will continue. He does not conceal that he aspires to it. Almazbek Atambayev has placed his people in all structures of the power. Now it is important to ensure the control of the parliament and it is just a matter of time. The prime minister is his personal protege, the president is his favorite, and his party has serious leverages in all areas, which was clearly manifested in this election. On the Internet there are published the results of the election, and we can see that in one of the polling stations 100% of the votes were given to Sooronbay Zheenbekov. It is theoretically impossible. The same was only in Chechnya at some time.
''Almazbek Atambayev has placed his people in all structures of the power. Now it is important to ensure the control of the parliament and it is just a matter of time. The prime minister is his personal protege, the president is his favorite, and his party has serious leverages in all areas.'' Photo: president.kg
At the same time, many fear that Atambayev will take the post of prime minister. I do not exclude it either, but not right now — at least after new parliamentary elections.
Let's return to Jeenbekov: what kind of figure is he and what political group he belongs to? There is an opinion that the favorite of Atambayev is far not a remarkable man and not a political leader, he was just ''pushed through''...
Sooronbai Jeenbekov is a typical official, who by some quirk of fate found himself to be the president. The fact that he was never engaged in active politics and always took the bureaucratic niche, which he was allowed to occupy from the ''top'', suggests that he will be a serviceable actuator holding the post of the president.
He held the post of governor of Osh region, he was the first deputy head of the presidential administration. His most strong side is the extensive and influential clan. He has several brothers, one of whom is former speaker of the parliament, retired, the other brother of Zheenbekov holds the position of Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan in the Gulf countries and is an influential representative of the southern Kyrgyz clan, known for their particular religious characteristic – they are believing Muslims.
''Miracles do not happen — the man not known for his political profile for a long time will not be able to take an influential place among his associates.'' Photo: teznews.kg
It is clear that this man is unlikely to be an important foreign player. He will be examined, he will listen to advice of his patron, the incumbent president. Miracles do not happen — the man not known for his political profile for a long time will not be able to take an influential place among his associates. However, we all remember the name of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who was practically unknown at the end of 1999. Today this man is considered to be one of the most influential world leaders.