Kyrgyzstan president agrees to resign, clearing way for June elections

April 03, 2005|By Kim Murphy | Kim Murphy,LOS ANGELES TIMES

MOSCOW - Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev has agreed in principle to resign, a move that would clear the way for the nation's revolutionary government to proceed with new presidential elections in June, authorities said yesterday.

In a development that signaled a possible end to the political impasse that has threatened the nation with instability since Akayev was driven from power on March 24, Parliament leaders said they would meet with the ousted president today in Moscow to discuss his formal abdication.

"A verbal agreement has been received from the president that he will relinquish power," Parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev said. "He has a sober view on the situation that has taken shape in the republic, and, as head of state, he is fully aware of his actions and acts only in the people's interests."

Akayev, Kyrgyzstan's president since shortly before independence in 1991, had hoped to return to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek and address its parliament before stepping down. But he is near agreement on making his formal resignation in Russia, to which he fled late last month instead of returning home, in order to avoid an array of political, security and legal problems, Kyrgyz officials and analysts said.

Acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev also said he could not guarantee Akayev's safety if he returned to the country. "He shouldn't come to Kyrgyzstan, whether it's for five or 10 minutes. It will cause a huge amount of negative feeling and discontent," he told the Interfax news agency.

Tekebayev said Akayev was told he would be offered "all privileges" if he resigned voluntarily but would face a relatively simple process of impeachment if he refused.

Orozbek Moldaliyev, an independent political analyst in Bishkek, said Akayev has been told he is assured of immunity from criminal prosecution for alleged corruption cases if he agrees to resign.

The new government has been willing to offer immunity in order to remove Akayev's large shadow as the country attempts to move forward, he said.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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