Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Akayev Set to Lose Special Privileges

APTurdaly Buzurmankulov, center, and his son Kasunbek, with grandson Ulukbek, watching Akayev's speech on TV.
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan's parliament ended its Thursday session without deciding on President Askar Akayev's resignation, giving lawmakers time to cancel special privileges the ousted leader is entitled to as the country's first president.

Akayev fled Kyrgyzstan two weeks ago after protesters stormed his office and the opposition seized power. He offered his resignation from Russia, where he sought refuge, and taped a farewell address to the nation lauding the achievements of his 15-year rule.

The 18-minute address, in which Akayev said his rule would someday be seen as a high point in the country's history, was broadcast live Thursday before the parliamentary debate on his resignation began.

Many lawmakers had argued against allowing Akayev a dignified exit. Under the law, Akayev as the first president would be entitled to initiate laws, be a lifetime member of the Security Council and address parliament.

Parliament Speaker Omurbek Tekebayev said parliament would reconvene Friday and amend the law to get rid of the special provisions for the first president, then lawmakers would take up the issue of Akayev's resignation. Akayev is expected to hold onto his immunity from prosecution -- a guarantee laid out in the Constitution.

At the end of his farewell address, Akayev was shown standing forlornly at a podium next to the Kyrgyz flag, holding up the resignation agreement. Then Tekebayev, one of Akayev's most prominent opponents, was shown taking the document from Akayev and shaking hands with him.

The audience listened to the address quietly, and there was no applause or other obvious reaction at its conclusion. But Kyrgyz who watched from home said it was a disappointing end for a man who had once been all powerful. "It was shameful," said retiree Shairgul Buzurmankulova. "He lost all of his authority."

Lawmakers on Thursday also voted to cancel a presidential election called for June 26, ruling that the date cannot be set until Akayev's resignation is accepted. They were expected to set a new date Friday.