4 Apr 2019 18:09

Kyrgyz parliament adopts amendments envisaging possibility of depriving ex-president Atambayev of immunity

BISHKEK. April 4 (Interfax) - The Kyrgyz parliament on Thursday passed at third and final reading amendments to the law on guarantees of the activities of the country's presidents' activities, which envisage the possibility of depriving an ex-president of the country of immunity if he or she engages in active political activities, an Interfax correspondent has reported.

A total of 111 of 120 deputies voted for the document.

The adopted law provides that "an ex-president of Kyrgyzstan should not hold political, special state posts in bodies of state authority, or hold posts in the administrative bodies of political parties, or participate in the activities of political parties in any other way."

"If an ex-president does not observe the established restrictions, the provision to him of all guarantees, as well as financial and other support from the republic's budget, stops at the recommendation of the prosecutor general by a regulation issued by the president of Kyrgyzstan," the adopted law said.

The guarantees include the status of immunity of the former president, which "applies to all housing and service premises held by him, road vehicles used by him, communication devices, archives belonging to him, other property, documents, baggage, and his correspondence."

At the same time, the adopted law guarantees the former president immunity as long as he does not engage in politics, although parliamentarians earlier suggested fully repealing this as contradicting the Constitution.

At the same time, a provision allowing the prosecution of an ex-president of Kyrgyzstan after he or she is deprived of the relevant status was added to the law on guarantees. A decision on that can be made by the parliament by a majority of votes "on the basis of a charge in an especially grave crime [in the post of president] confirmed by the prosecutor general brought against the ex-president."

Despite the fact that the parliamentary committee on constitutional issues says the adopted changes are not targeted against ex-president Almazbek Atambayev, his supporters are convinced of the opposite.

Irina Karamushkina, a parliamentarian and deputy head of the Social Democratic Party led by the ex-president, told Interfax that "the law on the deprivation of an ex-president of immunity is targeted against Almazbek Atambayev and the result will be that any president will be afraid of becoming ex-president for fear of prosecution if the president signs the law."

Asel Koduranova, another deputy chair of the Social Democratic Party, said "the provisions on the possibility of deprivation of immunity for participation in political life, the impossibility of holding the post of the party's leader contradict the Constitution, the provision on immunity was initially introduced for stable transfer of power and we could lose that if the law is signed."

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov said on December 19, 2018 that the amendments to the law on the presidential guarantees initiated in the country's parliament were not aimed against former president Atambayev. At that moment, the proposed amendments to the law removed the article on guarantees of immunity to the ex-president, but did not envisage the possibility of deprivation of immunity in the event of engaging in political activities.

The Social Democratic Party intends to hold a congress on April 6. The agenda is unknown, but a source in the party said the issue of re-election of the party's leader is not on the agenda.

Political opponents of Atambayev earlier said at a congress of the Social Democratic Party in Bishkek that the ex-president had been expelled from the party and proclaimed Sagynbek Abdrakhmanov, former governor of the Chuisk region, as their leader. Social Democratic Party spokesperson Kunduz Dzholdubayeva told Interfax that "Sagynbek Abdrakhmanov had held a congress with people who have no relation to the Social Democratic Party. Both the congress and its delegates are 'fake'."

Atambayev earlier did not hide its intentions to run in the parliamentary election in fall 2020.

Kyrgyzstan has only two former presidents of the country: Rosa Otunbayeva and Almazbek Atambayev, who have official status of ex-presidents. Otunbayeva leads a charity fund and focuses on social projects.

The other two former presidents of the country, Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, were deprived of this status as they had left their posts under pressure from the opposition as a result of the events that occurred in March 2005 and April 2010, which have been recognized as people's revolutions in Kyrgyzstan.