Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbay Jeenbekov resigned on Thursday, saying he wanted to bring an end to a crisis which was sparked by disputed parliamentary elections earlier this month.
“I am not clinging to power. I do not want to go down in the history of Kyrgyzstan as a president who allowed bloodshed and shooting on its people. I have taken the decision to resign,” Jeenbekov said in a statement released by his office.
Jeenbekov, who has faced calls to step down from protesters and political opponents, said holding on to power was not “worth the integrity of our country and agreement in society”.
“For me, peace in Kyrgyzstan, the country’s integrity, the unity of our people and calm in the society are above all else,” Jeenbekov said.
Jeenbekov’s resignation comes after opposition groups last week seized government buildings in response to protests against the parliamentary election held on October 4, which has since been annulled.
The disputed vote led to a fresh crisis in the Central Asian country, triggering protests and unrest that have killed at least one person and injured hundreds.
Protesters attempt to break through the gates of the government headquarters during a rally against the results of a parliamentary vote in Bishkek on October 5, 2020 [File: Vyacheslav/Oseledko/AFP]The rallies forced mass resignations that included the prime minister, the cabinet and several governors and mayors, leaving a political vacuum.
On Wednesday, Sadyr Zhaparov was appointed the new prime minister.
Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency on Friday and deployed troops in the country’s capital, Bishkek, in a bid to end the turmoil.
The move eased tensions in the city, where residents feared a wave of looting that accompanied previous uprisings and began forming vigilante groups to protect their property.
The Central Asian nation has a history of political volatility – two of its presidents have been toppled by revolts in the past 15 years.