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Archive for Monday, April 4, 2005

Kyrgyz president agrees to resign

April 4, 2005

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— The ousted president of Kyrgyzstan said Sunday that he had reached agreement with representatives of his nation's parliament on terms for him to resign officially today in a ceremony at the Kyrgyz Embassy here.

Askar A. Akayev, who was forced from power last month by a largely nonviolent popular uprising, agreed with the parliamentary delegation on the wording of a four-part resignation protocol, he told reporters at the embassy.

"The protocol speaks good words, which are necessary for the legitimacy of future elections, democracy and national integrity," Akayev said. "We have adopted a historic document. It will serve peace, reconciliation and settlement of the national political crisis."

Akayev's resignation would legitimize plans that already had been announced to hold a presidential election on June 26 to choose his replacement. Acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Felix Kulov, another key former opposition leader, have said they expect to run. Several other candidates also have declared their intent to enter the race.

The agreement was reached during three hours of negotiations between Akayev and the delegation, which was headed by Omurbek Tekebayev, a longtime critic of the ousted leader and now speaker of the parliament.

Akayev, 60, became president in 1990, when Kyrgyzstan was still part of the Soviet Union. He was among the less authoritarian leaders in a region known for strongman rule, but he became increasingly unpopular in recent years.

Opposition protests against alleged fraud during parliamentary elections held in February and last month peaked with protesters storming the main government building in Bishkek, the capital, on March 24. Akayev fled the country.

In recent days, Akayev said repeatedly that he would be willing to negotiate terms of his resignation only with representatives of the new parliament, which he describe as the only legitimate political body in Kyrgyzstan.

Akayev said that under the resignation agreement, parliament would pass a resolution confirming his privileges as a former head of state. Under Kyrgyzstan's constitution, a former president is promised personal security and immunity from prosecution.

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