Opposition parties in Kyrgyzstan have held an emergency session of parliament in a bid to limit the powers of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The meeting comes after almost a week of protests in the capital Bishkek with thousands demanding the president resign. Bakiyev has not done so but earlier he replaced his interior minister – a move seen as a bid to appease his opponents. It doesn’t appear to have worked.
“Victory will be ours,” said opposition MP Melis Shinkanov. “At the most in two days we will be living in another Kyrgyzstan, a Kyrgyzstan without Bakiyev and Prime Minister Kulov. The impetus that we’ve been waiting for for days now has been provided and Bakiev and Kulov just need to leave with dignity.”
A mountainous former Soviet state that borders China, Kyrgyzstan is home to both Russian and US air bases. Bakiyev himself came to power as a result of a popular uprising in March 2005. But many former supporters say he has gone back on promises to reform the country. Opposition MPs have used the meeting to re-write the constitution and slash the President’s influence. Despite questions over the legality of the move, they claim the current crisis requires immediate action.