Kamchybek Tashiev & Omurbek Babanov
Nature of Party
Complex. Ata Jurt are seen as nationalists who desire a strong presidency. While Respublika are seen as more liberal and centralist.
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Respublika-Ata Jurt originally started as two parties, Ata Jurt and Respublika. The creation of a single party from what were two bitterly opposed rivalries, which although remarkable, is just a symptom of the wider problem with Kyrgyzstan politics. That personality counts more than real issues.
Ata Jurt was founded by the interim president Roza Otunbayeva in 2004 and a few other politicians, however Otunbayeva joined the SDPK later. It is a right wing party with strong links to Kyrgyzstan’s south. This is particularly true due to Ata Jurt’s strong nationalistic rhetoric and promise to provide economic support to the south of the country. Ata Jurt managed to win 28 seats in the October 2010 parliamentary elections, in which it united with the SDPK and Respublika to form the “Unity and Development Coalition.” However, this government coalition lasted less than a year before it disintegrated. Ata Jurt was further weakened in October 2012 as three of its leaders were arrested, accused of planning to overthrow the government.
Respublika was a centralist nationalistic party that embraces the ethnic diversity of Kyrgyzstan. The party's leader is Omurbek Babanov, he has appeal in certain parts of the north as well as among other parts of the country where he is seen as a reformer. In 2010, only a short time after their foundation, they won 23 seats in parliament. However, the government coalition they had formed with Ata Jurt and the SDPK collapsed after less than a year. The party further suffered due to a variety of internal conflicts after the election where many of the leading members, departed and forming their own parties.
These defections occurred due to the numerous scandals that have hit Respublika in recent years. The most severe was an investigation by the anti-corruption service into the business dealings of Sharshenbek Abdykerimov, an ally of the party leader Omurbek Babanov.
The investigation into Sharshenbek Abdykerimov, a vodka oligarch, meant he did not run as a member of parliament and left Respublika. However, his departure was one of many corruption scandals that hit the party in this period, all of which caused damage to the party.
In October 2014 Respublika and Ata Jurt parties merged before the 2015 elections in which they became the second largest party, winning 28 seats. The merger was not due to ideological compatibility but due to each party’s needs. Ata Jurt was suffering from numerous court cases and economic difficulties, however they had strong support in the south. While Respublika supported was located to the north and wanted to form a larger opposition to the SDPK and its coalition. In short the alliance suits their short term games.
Respublika-Ata Jurt current position remains in flux as both Babanov and co-leader Kamchybek Tashiev are both banned from the electoral register for allegedly beating up a rival candidate from the Onuguu (Progress) party.
This being said both can still garner extensive support, shown by the last parliamentary elections where the joint parties came second in the vote collecting 28 seats. Nevertheless, neither politician has good relations with the other political parties and relations are particularly bad with the government coalition, subsequently they form the largest opposition party. Realistically the biggest challenge facing them and Respublika-Ata Jurt is managing to keep the party unified through to the next term. As internal differences within the party are still yet to be settled.
However as both Babanov and Tashiev enjoy support from across the nation they may be waiting for President Atambayev’s departure in 2017 to take the office themselves.
2004 – Ata Jurt founded
2010 – Respublika founded
2010 – Parliamentary elections both Ata Jurt and Respublika both parties do well.
2010-11 – Government coalition with Respublika, Ata Jurt and SDPK collapses. Ata Jurt left out of new coalition
2011-12 – A new coalition is formed with SDPK, Respublika, Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, Ar-Namys, and Ata Meken. Coalition collapses and Respublika dropped out.
2014 – Ata Jurt & Respublika unite into one party
2015 – Parliamentary elections, became the second largest party, winning 28 seats