Kyrgyzstan held a parliamentary vote Sunday which could strengthen the power of the president, Seddiq Abdullaev, but make the country of five million the latest in a series of former Soviet republics to seek to assert its independence and to be less dependent on Moscow.
Mr. Abdullaev, who was recently re-elected as president, was voted into the parliamentary majority ahead of an opposition candidate who garnered much support, and with support from radical democrats.
The president will be the leader of Kyrgyzstan’s 460-seat legislative assembly, and will appoint key cabinet members. He has said his aim is “to create an independent parliament” by strengthening democracy, allowing for tighter control over public spending and less reliance on the Kremlin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the vote a “suicidal catastrophe,” but Abdullaev said the election is “comprehensive and irreversible.”
The country has a poor track record of political stability, marked by on-off elections and bloody street protests that ousted its president in 2005 and again in 2010.