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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyzstan Government Resigns

APPrime Minister Kulov, in a recent photograph, addressing the parliament.
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan's government resigned Tuesday in a dispute with the parliament, adding new tension to the troubled politics of a country of strategic interest to both Russia and the United States.

The resignation was accepted by Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who has faced intensive political infighting since coming to power after March 2005 demonstrations drove longtime ruler Askar Akayev into exile.

Prime Minister Felix Kulov said he and his Cabinet resigned because constitutional amendments adopted last month made it impossible for the Cabinet and the parliament to work together. Bakiyev signed the amendments in November after a week of opposition protests.

Kulov also said: "With our move, we are trying to speed up new parliamentary elections." But the negotiations that led to the amendments also called for allowing the parliament to remain in power until its term ends in 2010, and it was not immediately clear how a government resignation could force early elections.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Kubanychbek Isabekov said the parliament saw no grounds for its dissolution.

He said 38 out of the 75 lawmakers decided at an emergency meeting to continue work as normal.

"I don't think there will be new elections," Isabekov said. "It would be illegal."

Opposition lawmaker Dooronbek Sadyrbayev said Tuesday that "the parliament is being made a scapegoat ... we will not go by ourselves."

Kulov's deputy, Daniyar Usenov, said the new constitution made working with the parliament impossible, but his complaints appeared directed at alleged irresponsibility by deputies and it was not clear how the amendments could impede work with the parliament.

"This parliament cannot make decisions," Usenov said. "It imitates work. It has failed to consider many important economic issues."

Political analyst Nur Omarov said it appeared that Bakiyev's and Kulov's moves were aimed at getting rid of an opposition parliament and "[getting] a new one that would be more comfortable for the executive branch of power."

The parliament was elected just weeks before Akayev was driven from office, and Usenov criticized the body as "shaped to fit the interests of the old leadership."

After the March 2005 protests that brought Bakiyev to power, he won an election widely regarded as open and fair and hopes were strong for Kyrgyzstan's democratic development.

But Bakiyev's rule has been marred by corruption and a weak economy. Bakiyev has had a troubled relationship with the parliament, which accused him of delaying his election promise to give broader powers to lawmakers.

The impoverished, mountainous country of 5 million is strategically located near China and Afghanistan and has been seen as an example of secular democracy in a region dominated by autocratic regimes and the growing threat of Islamic militancy.