19 Jan 2018 18:11

Kyrgyz Central Elections Commission terminates opposition parliamentarian Babanov's mandate

BISHKEK. Jan 19 (Interfax) - The Kyrgyz Central Elections Commission (CEC) has terminated the mandate of opposition parliamentarian Omurbek Babanov ahead of schedule, the CEC said to Interfax on Friday.

"The CEC has granted the request received from Omurbek Babanov today. The commission's members made the decision unanimously, and the parliamentarian's powers have been terminated as of January 19, 2018," a CEC source said.

Babanov came in second in the fall 2017 presidential election in Kyrgyzstan, with 33.49% of the vote.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal case against Babanov on November 4, 2017 for publicly calling for a violent change to the constitutional system and fomenting ethnic, racial, or religious enmity during his campaign.

Babanov claimed that media reports showing his speech to voters in Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan were edited and that he did not make any public statements fomenting enmity or calling for unconstitutional change of power. Babanov described the incident as a provocation by Kyrgyz security services and law enforcement.

Soon after the election, Babanov left the country, saying it was for health reasons. Some time later, he stepped down as leader of the parliamentary faction Respublika-Ata Zhurt.

On December 30, 2017, Babanov circulated a statement about ending his political career and stepping down as a parliamentarian.