by Thomas Wash | PDF
Around 20,000 protesters took to the streets in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek following parliamentary elections on October 4. Social media posts and news reports of alleged vote-buying and registration fraud sparked outrage when 107 out of 120 parliamentary seats went to parties loyal to President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, a surprising result compared to polls that suggested a competitive race.
Motivated by opposition parties who lost, protesters stormed and ransacked the presidential palace oft referred to as the “White House,” forcing the president to flee for his safety. The struggle for control resulted in protesters claiming to have taken over the building. The incident left 590 injured and one dead. In order to calm tensions, President Jeenbekov agreed to resign and put in place an interim government. As a result, presidential elections are expected to be held on January 10, 2021, while parliamentary elections are anticipated to take place by June 2021.
This is the third time in the country’s thirty-year history that a president was ousted from office following a contested election. This has not gone unnoticed by its biggest allies, China and Russia, which support the country with aid and services. Russia has expressed displeasure with the interim government, while China has yet to acknowledge it. Although the two compete for influence over the region, it is becoming clear they are growing concerned with its frequent instability.
In this report, we will discuss the potential geopolitical ramifications of the recent events in Kyrgyzstan. We will start off with a brief overview of the history and geography of the region, followed by an examination of recent events in more detail and what is likely to happen over the coming months. As always, we will conclude this report by discussing how markets might be affected.