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Kyrgyz parliament approves agriculture minister as new prime minister

Kyrgyz parliament approves agriculture minister as new prime minister

Kyrgyzstan's parliament approved a loyalist to the president as the Central Asian nation's new prime minister Monday, ending two weeks of political wrangling that observers had feared could lead to new instability in the impoverished nation.
Lawmakers voted 57-4 for Agriculture Minister Azim Isabekov, widely seen as a President Kurmanbek Bakiyev loyalist. He was also previously Bakiyev's deputy head of his administration.
Isabekov was nominated by Bakiyev on Friday after lawmakers blocked for a second time his attempt to reinstate former Prime Minister Felix Kulov as head of Cabinet. Kulov resigned last month amid disagreements about the extent of presidential powers.
Opposition lawmakers criticized Kulov for a lack of independence from Bakiyev, while pro-Bakiyev lawmakers feared he was still harboring presidential ambitions. It was unclear whether Kulov would remain in the government or not.
Before the vote, Isabekov pledged "not to engage in politics."
"I'm not seeking to become president," he said. "We, the Cabinet, will only work on raising people's living standards."
Political infighting has plagued the former Soviet republic since the March 2005 ouster of longtime President Askar Akayev, who was replaced by Bakiyev, a former opposition leader.
Isabekov, like Kulov, is from the northern part of Kyrgyzstan, a nation divided by an often fierce north-south regional rivalry.
The United States maintains a military base here _ its only such outpost in former Soviet Central Asia _ to back up operations in Afghanistan.
Russia, which has strong influence in Kyrgyzstan, also has an air base in the country.


Updated : 2021-04-13 16:31 GMT+08:00