On October 26th the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) formally exited the parliament's ruling coalition, forcing the cabinet to resign. Almazbek Atambayev, the president, has three days to choose a parliamentary party to form a new coalition.
The SDPK led the four-party coalition with 38 seats (out of a total of 120), and the Socialist Party Ata-Meken (Fatherland) held 11 seats, Onuguu-Progress held
13 seats and the Kyrgyzstan Party held 18 seats. Intra-coalition tensions increased owing to opposing views over proposed constitutional changes and a referendum, set for December 11th, to approve the amendments. Ata-Meken strongly opposed the reforms and Onuguu-Progress also voiced concerns. If adopted, the changes would bolster the prime minister's powers and may make it easier for the government to target opponents. Opposition to the reforms argue that Mr Atambayev will run for prime minister when his current presidential terms ends and use the reforms to entrench himself in power.
SDPK members cited coalition members' opposition to the constitutional changes and the referendum as reasons for leaving the coalition. On October 24th the SDPK leader, Isa Omurklov, attributed the party's exit to coalition members, who he accused of colluding with the country's deposed former presidents, Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev. On September 15th Mr Atambayev asked the prosecutor- general to pursue these allegations against members of Ata-Meken and Onuguu- Progress. Omurbek Tekebaev, the leader of Ata-Meken, in response accused
Mr Atambayev of illegally purchasing land.
Mr Atambayev has three days to ask a parliamentary party to form a new coalition, and the SDPK is a likely choice; he led the SDPK before becoming the president. If Mr Atambayev asks the SDPK to form a government, it is very unlikely that Ata- Meken and Onuguu-Progress will be in the new coalition. It is possible that their withdrawal from the government will lead to street protests.
The position of Sooronbai Zheenbekov, the prime minister, is unclear. He is supported by the SDPK and may head a new government, which could be formed from a coalition of the SDPK, the Kyrgyzstan Party and Respublika-Ata-Jurt
Impact on the forecast
The constitutional referendum is likely to go ahead. On October 19th the referendum date was moved from December 4th to December 11th with no clear explanation. The coalition's collapse, and the likely exclusion of Ata-Meken and Onuguu-Progress from the new coalition, increases the likelihood of street protests before the referendum.
November 8, 2016: Political stability
President’s party forms new coalition
On November 3rd the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) formed a new government coalition with the Kyrgyzstan Party and the Bir Bol party.
Both the Kyrgyzstan Party and the Bir Bol party are seen as allies of the SDPK and the president, Almazbek Atambayev. Mr Atambayev's decision to ask the SDPK to reform government was largely expected. The party presided over the previous coalition and was led by Mr Atambayev before he was elected president in 2011. The SDPK nominated Sooronbai Zheenbekov again for prime minister.
Mr Zheenbekov was nominated for prime minister by the SDPK in the previous coalition.
The new coalition ensures that both the SDPK and Mr Atambayev are in a strong position leading up to the constitutional referendum on December 11th. The referendum's proposed constitutional changes, which law-makers approved on November 2nd, will increase the prime minister's powers and make it easier for the government to target opponents.
We believe that the referendum will pass and that the SDPK will use the constitutional reforms to strengthen its position in government in the run-up to the 2017 presidential election. The reforms will increase the powers of Mr Zheenbekov, an SDPK nominee and ally of Mr Atambayev, and decrease those of the president.
Counterweights to the SDPK's influence in government have, in effect, been eliminated with the removal of Onuguu-Progress and Ata-Meken (Fatherland), two members of the previous coalition that opposed the constitutional referendum.
Should the SDPK nominate Mr Atambayev for prime minister following the end of his presidential term in 2017, as many suspect, his appointment would face little opposition within the current cabinet. (Mr Atambayev denies having any plans to run for prime minister after his presidential term ends, however.) We believe that the constitutional referendum and new coalition are attempts by the SDPK to consolidate power and ensure the continuation of their influence after the 2017 presidential election.
Impact on the forecast
We maintain our existing view that the constitutional referendum will go ahead on December 11th and will pass.