When Kyrgyzstan held its last presidential elections in July 2009, former President Bakiyev's authoritarian tendencies were at their height and he manoeuvred to neutralise any uncertainty around the final result. Such was the certainty that the Central Electoral Commission would name Bakiyev the winner that the main opposition candidate Almazbek Atambayev withdrew his candidature before the polling stations had even closed, condemning the multiple irregularities that had tarnished the process. Some two years later, it seemed that these would be the first open-ended presidential elections in the history of Central Asia, even though the sitting-prime minister Atambayev was this time round the favourite.
In any case, these elections were called to bring an end to a cycle of institutional instability that commenced with the overthrow of the then-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010. After three visits to the polls (a constitutional referendum in June 2010, parliamentary elections in October 2010 and these 2011 presidential elections) it is hoped that Kyrgyzstan will return to some semblance of institutional normality with the transfer of power from provisional President Roza Otunbayeva to a newly elected president. Finally worth underlining, was the climate of tension in the south of the country provoked by fears of a new crisis of political instability - either as a consequence of post-electoral uprisings, led by the candidates Tashiev or Madumarov, or by a repeat of the attempt at ethnic cleansing that occurred in June 2010.
Download complete PDF version: