Parliamentary Elections in Kyrgyzstan
Risk assessment & strategies for foreign investors
December 15, 2021
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

On 28 November, for the first time since the approval of its new constitution in May 2021, (which modified the country's form of government from a parliamentary-presidential to a fully-presidential system) Kyrgyzstan held elections to its Parliament (Jogorku Kenesh).

There will be six parties in the 90-seat Parliament, which were not previously members: Ata-Jurt Kyrgyzstan (Fatherland), Ishenim, Yntymak (Unity), Alliance, Butun Kyrgyzstan (United Kyrgyzstan), and Iyman nuru (Light of Faith). Of 36 single-member constituencies, the names of 34 of the winners are already known. The parties that made it to the parliament remain loyal to the government though are not directly affiliated with President Zhaparov.

Several parties that did not enter Parliament have claimed election rigging (which prompted a manual vote recount). The authorities, however, have so far succeeded in avoiding post-election mass protests that would have threatened a new political crisis. The Central Election Committee has already stated that there will be no repeat election.

The low voter turnout (34%) and high level of protest voting demonstrated a clear lack of interest in the elections and low levels of trust in parliament as an institution, principally due to a drastic curtailing of the Jogorku Kenesh's powers and to a change in governance resulting from the 2021 constitutional reform.

The parliamentary elections have served to stabilize Kyrgyzstan's political situation following the acute crisis in 2020 (dissolution of parliament, the President's resignation and complete reset of the authorities).

At the same time, the system remains unstable and hinges largely on the fragile balance of interests between clan elites and on the continued popularity of President Sadyr Japarov, while President Japarov's populism significantly complicates official Bishkek's relations with foreign business.
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