A Convicted Kidnapper Is Chosen to Lead Government of Kyrgyzstan

It was unclear whether he would serve a full term or be forced to step down once new parliamentary elections are held to replace last week’s annulled vote.

Mr. Japarov, a former member of Parliament for a nationalist party, has insisted that the kidnapping charges against him were politically motivated, a plausible claim in a country where each successive government often jails members of the previous one. Among those freed from prison this past week by protesters were a former president, Almazbek Atambayev, serving an 11-year-sentence for corruption, and two former prime ministers.

Mr. Atambayev, under whose rule Mr. Japarov, the new prime minister, was convicted, was himself back behind bars on Saturday after being detained by security officers in the center of Bishkek. He had said on Friday that he had been the target of a failed assassination attempt after his release from jail.

Mr. Dubnov, the Moscow analyst, said criminal convictions in Kyrgyzstan were frequently tainted by politics but added that, in an impoverished country that sits astride lucrative smuggling routes, “it is very difficult to find a politician who is not connected to crime in some way.”

Residents reached by telephone said Bishkek was mostly calm on Saturday as armed troops set up checkpoints and lawmakers from the previous Parliament gathered at the grand official residence of President Jeenbekov to choose a prime minister.

Mr. Jeenbekov, who vanished from view after protesters stormed his office, re-emerged on Friday take the lead in trying to calm the crisis, firing the previous government and pledging to resign once a new cabinet was formed.

The departure of Mr. Jeenbekov, who was elected in 2017, would mark the third time in 15 years that violent protests have toppled the president in Kyrgyzstan, the only country in Central Asia with a modicum of democracy but one prone to instability because of deep poverty, clan rivalries and divisions between north and south.

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