Kyrgyzstan elects new prime minister, rearrests former president as unrest deepens over disputed elections

The former president of Kyrgyzstan has rearrested as the country’s incumbent leader try to regain support after days of unrest over a disputed election.

Forces detained ex-leader Almazbek Atambayev in a raid on Saturday.

He had been freed by supporters days earlier in protests against last Sunday’s contested parliamentary poll.

The election has triggered a political crisis in the Central Asian country.

On Saturday Kyrgyzstan’s parliament named nationalist politician Sadyr Zhaparov as new prime minister, after his predecessor stepped down, opening up a power vacuum.

Mr Zhaparov is also among the several prominent politicians who were freed this week during the protests. He had been serving a prison sentence on charges of taking a government official hostage in 2013.

The unrest began after demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Bishkek and stormed government buildings on Tuesday, demanding a new vote and the resignation of pro-Russian President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

They said the election results had been rigged – claims international monitors said were “credible” and a cause for “serious concern”.

President Jeenbekov has said he will resign when a new government is formed and the rule of law is restored.

In the meantime, the president has declared a state of emergency, after demonstrations on Friday spiralled into violence and clashes with police.

ist fights broke out among groups supporting rival politicians who were vying to become the country’s new prime minister.

More than 1,200 people have been injured and one person has been killed in street clashes since protests erupted. Police have reportedly used water cannon, stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters.

Now, a curfew and strict military restrictions have been imposed, including controls on who can travel in and out of the capital.

The landlocked country, which borders China, was part of the Soviet Union until independence in 1991. It has a reputation for holding semi-free and fair elections in comparison with some of its neighbours, but uprisings in 2005 and 2010 swept previous presidents from power.

The latest political instability has concerned Kyrgyzstan ally Russia, which has played a role in mediating recent crises in other post-Soviet states, including Belarus.