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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyz Ministers Ousted

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev dismissed five senior officials Wednesday and invited opponents to take up their jobs, but opposition leaders rejected the offer and urged him to resign.

"We are inviting new people. Let's work together," Prime Minister Azim Isabekov, Bakiyev's long-serving aide, told reporters. "The government wants new forces, new people, new ideas. ... We want the republic to be stable. We want society and political forces to put forward their candidates."

He said the dismissed officials included First Deputy Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov, the Cabinet's chief of staff and the ministers of economics, emergency situations and health.

Bakiyev's offer, clearly intended to pacify opponents, only raised the tensions as the opposition, spearheaded by former Bakiyev ally Felix Kulov, stepped up its pressure on the president to resign and hold early elections.

"It's just a political game. [We] did not ask the president to sack the government. We just want early elections," said Omurbek Suvanaliyev, a Kulov aide. "We won't even talk to him."

Kulov has said his United Front opposition party would use only constitutional means to bring about early elections. The country is not due to hold parliamentary or presidential polls until 2010. Opponents say Bakiyev, elected in 2005, has failed to fulfill his pre-election pledges to bring stability and economic growth and stop state corruption.