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Freedom House includes Kyrgyzstan in category of ‘not free’ countries

The level of freedom in Kyrgyzstan has deteriorated sharply over the past year. Annual report of the international non-governmental organization Freedom House Freedom in the World 2021 says.

The republic’s score dropped by 11 points and the country was included in the "not free" category along with the rest of the countries in Central Asian region.

The level of freedom in Kyrgyzstan was estimated at 28 points out of 100 (39 out of 100 in 2020), political rights - 4 points out of 40, civil liberties - 24 points out of 60.    

"Kyrgyzstan’s status declined from Partly Free to Not Free because the aftermath of deeply flawed parliamentary elections featured significant political violence and intimidation that culminated in the irregular seizure of power by a nationalist leader and convicted felon who had been freed from prison by supporters,” authors of the report note.

After two revolutions that ousted authoritarian presidents in 2005 and 2010, Kyrgyzstan adopted a parliamentary form of government. Governing coalitions have proven unstable, however, and corruption remains pervasive. Before it split, the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) consolidated power over several years, using the justice system to suppress political opponents and civil society critics. Unrest surrounding the annulled 2020 parliamentary elections led to significant political upheaval.

As noted, the unauthorized assumption of the role of the acting president by Sadyr Japarov and the subsequent fulfillment of the duties of prime minister, postponement of the date of the new parliamentary elections after cancellation of the results of the previous ones in October 2020, violence and intimidation of opponents by the supporters of Japarov, the "economic amnesty" for officials, the lack of transparency in key decisions and the initiated constitutional reform were among the many reasons for a significant decline in the republic’s score.

In general, as the authors of the report note, the share of countries that have "not free" status reached the highest level since the beginning of the deterioration of the situation in 2006. At least 54 out of 195 independent states covered by the report have the status of "not free". They account for 38 percent of the world's population, the highest since the start of the global decline.

According to Freedom House experts, the governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the global democracy decline: repressive regimes and populist leaders have reduced transparency, disseminated false or misleading information, and thwarted the spread of unfavorable data or critical views.

"Anti-democratic leaders around the world have used the pandemic as a cover to weaken political opposition and consolidate their power,” human rights activists say.