As supporters of several Kyrgyz opposition parties, including Ata Meken, protested on December 1 outside the Central Election Commission (CEC), two minibuses unloaded a mob of around 70 men. The crowd descended on the Park Hotel where Ata Meken’s leader, Omurbek Tekebayev, was planning to meet with representatives of other parties dissatisfied with the November 28 election. Tekebayev was pushed out of the hotel and assaulted by several members of the mob. He later said his phone and glasses were stolen before the mob disbursed.
Tekebayev’s Ata Meken, despite being cited as one of Kyrgyzstan’s most familiar political parties according to a September survey by the International Republican Institute, did not make it into parliament after the November 28 election, according to preliminary results.
Some responded with shock and shame at the apparent political violence, with former interim President Roza Otunbayeva telling RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service that Kyrgyzstan’s political culture was collapsing. “It is unforgivable that [Tekebayev] is beaten in broad daylight and during such political events,” she said. Otunbayeva dismissed those claiming the attack was specifically orchestrated to discredit the authorities, but said the events nonetheless would damage the government’s reputation.
It didn’t take long for some to float the notion that “third forces” organized the attack, though without presenting any evidence to support the claim.
Kamchybek Tashiev, the head of Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security and a longtime ally of President Sadyr Japarov, on the other hand, said Tekebayev had not been attacked but just had a “fight with someone.” But Tashiev said the authorities were investigating and later called the assault a “crime.”
On December 2, a single 23-year-old suspect was reportedly detained on robbery charges by police after he returned Tekebayev’s phone.
The phone also featured in a Facebook post by Tekebayev’s lawyer, who claimed that a phone-locating app indicated that after the attack the phone was in the vicinity of the the headquarters of the State Committee for National Security.
Tekebayev told Eurasianet that the assault was an effort to discourage him from continuing to agitate against the parliamentary election results. He called it “political terror.”
On election day, an apparent computer glitch in the display of results as they were being tabulated dropped several parties that had believed they’d surpassed the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament below the threshold. While the CEC says the error was just in the display, the affected parties, including Ata Meken, nevertheless cried foul.
Following the conclusion of a hand count on November 30, the CEC announced preliminary results in which seven parties looked likely to gain seats in the new, pared-down 90-seat parliament. Ata-Jurt Kyrgyzstan, Yntymak, and Ishenim are considered pro-government parties and are leading for seats; Butun Kyrgyzstan is an opposition party and has passed the 5 percent threshold. The three other parties that may enter parliament — Yiman Nuru, Alyans, and El Umutu — are not affiliated with either the government or the opposition camp. The parties will split 54 seats, with the remaining 36 to be filled by the winners in the single-mandate races tied to geographic constituencies.
Final results are not yet available.