The period immediately preceding and following independence saw a proliferation of political groups of various sizes and platforms. Although President Akayev emerged from the strongest of those groups, in the early 1990s no organized party system developed either around Akayev or in opposition to him.
The Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan (CPK), which was the only legal political party during the Soviet years, was abolished in 1991 in the aftermath of the failed coup against the Gorbachev government of the Soviet Union. A successor, the Kyrgyzstan Communist Party, was allowed to register in September 1992. It elected two deputies to the lower house of parliament in 1995. In that party, significant oppositionists include past republic leader Absamat Masaliyev, a former first secretary of the CPK. The 1995 election also gave a deputy's mandate to T. Usubaliyev, who had been head of the CPK and leader of the republic between 1964 and 1982. Another party with many former communist officials is the Republican People's Party. Two other, smaller neocommunist parties are the Social Democrats of Kyrgyzstan, which gained three seats in the upper house and eight seats in the lower house of the 1995 parliament, and the People's Party of Kyrgyzstan, which holds three seats in the lower house.
All of the other parties in existence in 1995 began as unsanctioned civic movements. The first is Ashar (Help), which was founded in 1989 as a movement to take over unused land for housing; Ashar took one seat in the upper house in the 1995 elections. A fluctuating number of parties and groups are joined under the umbrella of the Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan (DDK); the most influential is Erkin Kyrgyzstan (Freedom for Kyrgyzstan), which in late 1992 split into two parties, one retaining the name Erkin Kyrgyzstan, and the other called Ata-meken (Fatherland). In the 1995 elections, Erkin Kyrgyzstan took one seat and Ata-meken two seats in the upper house. In the spring of 1995, the head of Erkin Kyrgyzstan was indicted for embezzling funds from the university of which he is a rector; it is unclear whether or not this accusation was politically motivated.
Another democratically inclined party, Asaba (Banner) also took one seat in the upper house. Registration was denied to another group, the Freedom Party, because its platform includes the creation of an Uygur autonomous district extending into the Chinese Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which the Chinese government opposes. The Union of Germans took one seat in the lower house, and a Russian nationalist group, Concord, also took one seat.
For all their proliferation, parties have not yet played a large part in independent Kyrgyzstan. In the mid-1990s, early enthusiasm for the democratic parties faded as the republic's economy grew worse and party officials were implicated in the republic's proliferating political corruption. The communist successor parties, on the other hand, appeared to gain influence in this period. In the absence of elections, and with President Akayev belonging to no party, it is difficult to predict the future significance of any of these parties.
|Country Studies main page | Kyrgyzstan Country Studies main page|