Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Claims Control

Kyrgyzstan’s opposition leader, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, claims he has been named acting prime minister and president. Meanwhile, President Askar Akayev claims that he has not in fact resigned and is therefore still the president.

Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Claims Control (AP)

Kyrgyzstan’s triumphant opposition scrambled Friday to restore order in a capital described as “gone mad” with looting and vandalism, and named a leader of the rebellion acting president after driving President Askar Akayev from power.
Kurmanbek Bakiyev emerged from the Parliament building and said he had been named acting prime minister and president. “Freedom has finally come to us,” Bakiyev told a crowd in the capital, Bishkek. Celebrations also were reported in southern Kyrgyzstan, where the popular uprising began earlier this month.

Bakiyev’s appointment as acting president was endorsed in a late-night session by a newly restored parliament of lawmakers who held seats before this year’s disputed elections, which fueled protests against Akayev and his government.

Akayev, whose whereabouts were unknown after fleeing the Central Asian country with his family, denied he had resigned, according to Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency. “My current stay outside the country is temporary,” said Akayev, who ruled Kyrgyzstan for 15 years. “Rumors of my resignation are deliberate, malicious lies.”

I’m guessing Akayev is out of power permanently, whether he knows it or not.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.