Kyrgyzstan’s tumultuous political status, marked by a period of significant legislative reform following the annulled October 2020 parliamentary elections, has returned the country to a strong presidential system. In 2021, Kyrgyzstan held presidential, local and parliamentary elections as well as two referenda prompting key changes in the government system and constitution. While recent political developments have shifted internal power to the presidency, external influences from Russia and China, including economic fallout from sanctions on the Russian Federation, will continue to impact Kyrgyzstan and the larger Central Asia region as a whole. The current post-election period provides new opportunities to strengthen knowledge of recent electoral reforms, encourage greater civic participation and prepare electoral institutions for the next electoral cycle.
IFES works with local partners across Kyrgyzstani society in developing political culture and accountability, strengthening institutional capacity and promoting a more democratic electoral process through its work with the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Kyrgyzstan, judges, journalists, young activists and voters to raise awareness of electoral processes, promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities, foster youth civic engagement and improve the adjudication of election disputes and violations. Since 1994, IFES has worked with electoral authorities and stakeholders for the development and sustainability of democratic institutions and an election process striving for transparency and inclusivity.
Under the current “Kyrgyz Republic Political Process Program” (KPPP) funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), IFES works with local civil society organizations, disabled persons organizations (to increase enfranchisement and accessibility to electoral processes), schools/universities and student groups (including the over 3000 active members of IFES’ Democracy Alumni Network), the media and government officials from the CEC and Jogorku Kenesh (parliament) to foster political competition and promote an inclusive political environment.