Updated on 22.02.2019, 19:20 (AST)

President of Kyrgyzstan Roza OTUNBAYEVA:

Kyrgyzstan is about to make its next presidential choice. The country is currently ruled by a transitional government and the election of a full-term president will be for the Kyrgyz citizens a choice of a vector of development. However, according to some experts, the election campaign may finally destabilize the country by dividing it into several camps. In an interview to Interfax-Kazakhstan the President of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva has spoken of the current state of affairs in the country, the heat of the presidential race, her concerns about the activities of unscrupulous politicians and possible acts of protest.

- Ms. President, the presidential election is nearing. Who do you think are the main candidates for the presidential chair? Do you expect a tough political struggle?

- The presidential election will become a continuation of the events of April 7, 2010 (the last revolution in Kyrgyzstan, which toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev - IF-K). The election will mark the end of the transitional period. When we came to power after the revolution we announced a transitional period of one and a half years, during which we started to build the organs of power basically from scratch. The process will be completed when the new president is elected.

The forces, which have opposed us during the transitional period, are trying to make a comeback. I have no doubts that Bakiyev's clans will enter the struggle at the closing stages. I do not think they will emerge in the beginning of the presidential race. They will wait until the most likely candidates to win the election remain and then they will use their considerable financial resources. This context determines the heat of the election campaign.

I believe that the issue before us now is whether Kyrgyzstan will move along a path of progress and modernization or will be stranded at the roadside.

As for the candidates, the period of registration is not over yet and new candidates will appear. Candidates are mainly nominated by political parties.

- And how many candidates will there be in the end? Can there be 10 or 12?

- There may be even more. We have many freaks!

- You were talking about a comeback of Bakiyev's forces. Do you think dirty political tricks will be used?

- Absolutely! Candidates come from very different political backgrounds plus we have Bakiyev's clans keen to return. This disposition will remain.

During the last parliamentary election some politicians played the regional card with great skill. They vowed to bring those who carried out the April 7 revolution to trial and reinstate Bakiyev. A well known party active in the south of Kyrgyzstan was promising that all the time. We have tons of evidence of that.

As far as black PR is concerned, it has been used in our country before.

- Do you believe a return from the parliamentary to the presidential republic is possible after the election?

- It will probably take some serious manipulation of the law. The decree to adopt the Constitution provided that the functions of the president, prime minister and the speaker of parliament should not be changed until 2020. That was stated very clearly. A return to the previous form of government would require radical measures and legislative tampering. The whole course of the county's development will need to be changed.

One should also bear in mind that this parliament will not agree to grant more powers to the president, no matter who it is. This parliament has got very broad powers, which it will not share. One cannot turn the country back without getting over the parliament.

The parliament will hardly agree to a conspiracy as its speaker is a very ambitious person. Such a combination seems to me very complicated.

- Are there any consultations with partner countries regarding the presidential election?

- Yes, there are such consultations. All parties are meeting Russian, Kazakhstani and other players. We could only hold the referendum (the Constitutional Referendum of June 27, 2010, under which a new Constitution was adopted and Roza Otunbayeva became transitional president until December 31, 2011) on our own, without asking anyone. Unfortunately, we have to admit the fact that all the rest is done in close contact with partner countries.

- How do you finance the election campaign?

- According to our central election commission, the election will cost about 450 million som (around $10 million). The budget has allocated less than the amount, but the problem will be solved, including with the help of donors.

- The security issue is closely linked to the election. How will safety be provided? Do you think different candidates will urge their supporters to take to the streets in acts of protest?

- We have already been through that. We have an extensive experience of tackling mass protests. I cannot say there will be no mass protests. Such acts are likely. We have many problems in our society that may cause them.

Our goal, of course, is to ensure a peaceful and secure election process. We did a huge work to provide security during the parliamentary election. We were prepared for any provocations and we could hold the situation under control.

The safety of the present election campaign is a major concern for us, but we already have a certain experience under our belt. And our people have a sharp instinct of self-preservation as, basically, the unity of our nation is at stake.

We are also concerned about the North-South rivalry. This regional division is very sensitive and many will try to use it to their advantage. The election should become either the point of ease or the point of exacerbation.

- Judging by the publications of the Kyrgyz media, the situation in the south remains tense. Do you think there are any preconditions for a repeat of the last year's interethnic violence? What measures are being taken to prevent that?

- Unfortunately, as I have already said, those problems will be brought to light during the election. The issue of the electorate, including ethnic Uzbeks, will loom large. The force that will be victorious in the election will have to provide a solution to those problems. After the parliamentary election we saw that the political force, to which the ethnic Uzbeks gave their support, did not reflect their interests in any way. The Uzbek voters will not be deceived any more. This time they will support the force, which will really solve their problems and provide a future for ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan.

- In what role do you see yourself after the election? Are you going to stay in Kyrgyzstan and continue your political career?

- I do not see myself outside Kyrgyzstan. Those who think I am preparing to leave are wrong. I have worked for the UN. It was a useful and important experience for me, but I am not going to work for any international organizations. I will stay in Kyrgyzstan. On April 7 we set this country in motion. We want progress. We want to further our national interests, increase our safety and prosperity. I am ready to devote the rest of my life to those ends.

In what role do I see myself? There are many possibilities in our turbulent life. I think I will remain active in our social and political life. I still have the strength, experience and a will to carry on our ideas for the development of Kyrgyzstan. It does not necessarily have to be a position in power. I can express myself through the television screen, radio or the pen.

- Do you plan to create your own political party?

- No, I will hardly create any parties.

- Do you think the new government will change Kyrgyzstan's vector of relations with its partner countries?

- It will depend on who comes to power after the election. Our region is gaining in importance in the world. The OSCE has shifted its focus from the Balkans to the Central Asia. I think the priority should be given to contacts with our neighboours: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. We are also working closely with Tajikistan, especially on security issues. The new president should understand that we should all live in concord. It cannot be otherwise!

I think the new head of state will be a realistic person who will understand that we cannot choose our neighbours.

In the last twenty years we have conducted a consistent policy of partnership with Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. We have always been transparent.

As for cooperation with Kazakhstan, we have warm feelings towards each other. Kazakhstan wants security in Kyrgyzstan. Provided that there is security, Kazakhstan has enough means to invest in our small country. For many years we have had a tight economic cooperation with Kazakhstan. Many Kazakhstani banks operate in our country. We have received much investment and created a joint development fund to help the economy of Kyrgyzstan. We have serious projects, which we will leave to the future generations.

In the future we are going to increase our hydroelectric potential and build new power plants. Kazakhstan has already shown interest in the construction of the Kambar-Ata hydroelectric power plants.

We also have many mineral deposits, not to mention banking, finance, insurance, leasing. Kazakhstan is a long way ahead of us in all those things. In short, we have potential for cooperation.

However, we also have problems with Kazakhstani investors. They have bought the Kadamzhay antimony combine, but they are not investing enough in it. The factory is in a bad state.

The South Kyrgyz cement plant is not running to the full capacity.

We want you to utilize fully what you have bought.

Kyrgyzstan also borders on China. We know that in the next five years the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will enjoy an immense growth of the economy and investment.

Russia is also a traditional investor in Kyrgyzstan.

The main sectors for our development are the mining and energy sectors.

- In the middle of summer the question of holidays is timely. It is no secret that the vast majority of the holiday makers at the unique mountain lake of Issyk-Kul are Kazakhstanis, but in the recent years many have chosen not to come fearing for their safety. Can you say that the situation has changed drastically and the authorities can guarantee the safety of tourists?

- The tourist season has taken a good start. The weather is fine. The hotels are offering an extended range of services. Our traditional guests are holiday makers from Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan. We adjust to their tastes and their wallets.

There have been security issues before. Now we are doing all we can to provide the safety of tourists. We are determined to make some money this summer to supplement our budget. Our law enforcement officers are deployed in tourist areas. I believe the goodwill and hospitality of the local population will prevail over the minor troubles.

We are keeping a very tight control over the traffic police operation. I want to assure you that this is our priority. We should be pragmatic and use the desire of the Kazakhstanis to spend their holidays at Issyk-Kul.

Let there be peace on our land!

- Thank you for your time!

July, 2011
й 2011 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
References are obligatory

July, 2011
© 2019 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
Copying and use of these materials without reference to the source is prohibited


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