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Akayev May Try to Return to Power

    19 January 2021 Tuesday

    BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Ousted President Askar Akayev could take advantage of conflicts among Kyrgyzstan's new authorities and seek to take back power if they put their personal interests above the law, a key figure in the new leadership warned Sunday.
    Felix Kulov's comments in a late-night interview with The Associated Press came amid a dispute between two rival legislatures over which is the country's legitimate parliament. The Supreme Court has declared the country's previous parliament as the valid legislature, but the Central Election Commission says the body chosen in this year's elections is the legitimate one.

    Kulov, put in charge of coordinating law enforcement after opposition protesters seized the government headquarters last week and Akayev fled to Russia, said the new leaders must follow the letter of the law as they seek to resolve disputes and create a legitimate government.

    "I think that violating the constitution will hurt the image of our republic, because if we go outside the law, it will give us very big problems," Kulov said.

    "First of all, it will give President Akayev an opportunity to try, through international organizations, to return again (to power)," he said. "Because he has not resigned from his office."

    The power struggle in parliament, which came as police and civilian volunteers largely quelled looting after two violent nights in the capital, added to instability in the wake of the government takeover and threatened to cast the Central Asian country deeper into crisis.

    Kulov, one of the most prominent anti-Akayev activists, is a former vice president and security chief who spent four years in prison on charges that he and supporters claimed were politically motivated. He was released just hours after the seizure of the presidential administration building.

    He was appointed law-enforcement coordinator by the reinstated old parliament, but on Sunday said the new parliament must be recognized instead.

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