An man reads his ballot as he prepares to vote in a village in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday.
Following a coup, bitter ethnic violence and skyrocketing food prices, Kyrgyzstan managed to hold a peaceful landmark election on Sunday that may well establish the beleaguered country as the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia. —JCL
International observers today described the election as largely free and fair – a remarkable feat in a region run by democracy-averse super-presidents all apparently in the job for life.
In an address to the nation yesterday, Kyrgyzstan’s interim president, Rosa Otunbayeva, called it a “new page” in Kyrgyzstan’s 20-year history. “We are not just choosing a new parliament. We’re ushering in a new system of government – a parliamentary republic,” she said.