Kyrgyz president to be sworn in

Sadyr Japarov will today assume office as President of Kyrgyzstan. After allegations of voter fraud in the October 2020 Kyrgyz

Kyrgyz president

Photo: Vladimir Voronin/ AP

Sadyr Japarov will today assume office as President of Kyrgyzstan.

After allegations of voter fraud in the October 2020 Kyrgyz parliamentary elections, pro-Japarov protesters descended on the streets of the capital, Bishkek, calling for the dissolution of the newly-elected government. Capitalising on the opportunity, Japarov ran for the presidency and won a landslide victory. Regarded as a nationalist, Japarov is well-known for his pro-Russian policies.

In an attempt to bolster the landlocked nation’s flagging economy, Japarov’s short to medium-term strategy will likely focus on improving Bishkek’s bilateral relations with Moscow by increasing trade. Remittances from Kyrgyz migrant workers in Russia account for a significant portion of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP.

It seems likely that Bishkek will abstain from advancing the interests of neighboring China, another key partner. Beijing expressed concern about attacks that targeted Chinese businesses during the pro-Japarov demonstrations. Worried about the rise of anti-Chinese sentiments, Beijing is likely to exert pressure on Kyrgyzstan by way of raising Bishkek’s extensive debt towards Beijing with Kyrgyz authorities so that Chinese-owned gold mines in the region remain protected. Japarov will likely capitulate to Chinese pressure and show willingness to renegotiate debt payment plans.

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