Officially: Кыргыз Республикасы.
English: Kyrgyzstan.
Seat of government: Бишкек.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: Parliament (Жогорку Кеңеш) is elected by party-list proportional representation, and chooses the prime minister. The president is elected directly.
Heads of government: Жоомарт Оторбаев, prime minister; Алмаз Атамбаев, president.
Parliamentary parties: Ата-журт, led by Камчыбек Ташиев and Курманбек Бакиев; Кыргызстандын Социал-демократиялык Партиясы, led by Алмаз Атамбаев; Ар-Намыс, led by Феликс Кулов; Республика, led by Өмүрбек Бабанов; Ата Мекен, led by Өмүрбек Текебаев.
Other parties: Ак Жол; Кыргызстан Коммунисттер Партиясы.
Recent history: After independence (1991), the state was relatively liberal for Türkestan, but became steadily more dictatorial. Аскар Акаев (1990-2005) was officially reelected in a tainted vote in 2000, tainted by electoral fraud, an unfair campaign, and the absence of opposition leader Кулов, who was imprisoned and was barred from the poll for refusing a language test. A dubious referendum (2003) then approved constitutional changes, and confirmed Акаев in office. A new parliament chosen in fraudulent elections in 2005 was almost entirely without opposition members. In response, opposition protesters began seizing public spaces and eventually whole towns, starting in the south of the state, and culminating in Бишкек. Акаев fled; an interim collective leadership took power, with Бакиев as interim prime minister and opposition parliamentarian Ишенбай Кадырбеков as speaker. Кулов, released from prison, ultimately became first deputy prime minister. Perversely, the interim administration endorsed the new parliament. Бакиев won a presidential election in July and was inaugurated; he then appointed Кулов (2005-7) as prime minister. But constitutional changes reluctantly agreed by Бакиев in 2007 made parliament the greater power. It rejected the renomination of Кулов, who went into opposition. His replacement was Азим Исабеков, who resigned after a few months to make way for Атамбаев, from the opposition. A referendum to approve a new constitution, with proportional representation and a theoretically more-independent parliament, was officially passed in 2007, with irregularities; but opposition parties were unrepresented in the resulting parliament, owing to distributional rules and apparent fraud. A presidential election in 2009 was officially won by Бакиев; Атамбаев withdrew on the day of the vote, claiming it would not be fair. In 2010, upset over corruption, utility fees, and the death of protesters, citizens ousted Бакиев, and opposition figures assumed power. A subsequent referendum approved a shift to parliamentary government, and confirmed Роза Отунбаева as president. The first parliamentary vote after the referendum, also in 2010, placed five parties into parliament. Атамбаев won a presidential election in 2011. Оторбаев resigned in 2015.
FH: 5-4, partly free (not democratic). Econ: 4.05 (114), hybrid.
Updated: 2015 April 26.