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Atambayev Returns: What Next for Kyrgyzstan?
Kyrgyzstan’s former President Almazbek Atambayev is back in politics following his unchallenged appointment as head of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) on March 31. His return to politics comes amid rumors of tensions between him and current President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, his handpicked successor elected just over 100 days ago.
In his first comment after the inauguration, the former president suggested that the presence of Jeenbekov’s brother in parliament “doesn’t look good.” His comment followed an earlier decision by his top lieutenant, Farid Niyazov, to resign as President Jeenbekov’s chief of staff.
What is driving the apparent tension between Kyrgyzstan’s current and former presidents? And what does Atambayev’s return to active politics mean for the future of the Atambayev-Jeenbekov alliance, the current Kyrgyz government, and Kyrgyzstan’s political future?
- Venera Djumataeva, Director of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service
- Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program
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