The Tulip Revolution, also known as the first Kyrgyz revolution, led to the dismissal of President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan in early 2005. The revolution began after the parliamentary elections when Askar’s candidates were victorious in an election that is was marked by electoral fraud according to foreign observers such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). A mass protest on behalf of the Kyrgyz citizens who were fed up with President Askar Akayev’s corrupt, intolerant and authoritarian regime began after the elections. He came to power in 1990 and exceeded the two terms allowed by the Kyrgyz constitution.
Kyrgyzstan participated in the parliamentary elections on February 27, 2005. The election result was a victory for President Askar Akayev as his people had won. Criticism followed, and there were riots in the country. In March 3, 2005, there was a bomb explosion in the apartment of opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva of which Akayev and his government denied responsibility. The protests began in the south and soon reached the capital, and on March 10, 2005, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was the leader of the popular movement, Kyrgyzstan joined the protesters. The protesters camped outside the parliament building in Bishkek. In March 19, 2005, three thousand people joined the protests in Bishkek and on March 20, 2005, the protesters had occupied all the cities in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. Despite mass protests, Akayev refused to negotiate with protesters on March 22, 2005. In March 24, 2005, Akayev and his family fled to Kazakhstan and later to Russia where he handed in his resignation in April 3, 2005.
Outcome of the revolution
The revolution brought to light the corruption that was occurring during the Akayev regime. In March 24, 2005, non-governmental organizations along with public officials and bankers sat down to make an inquiry into the corruption accusation against Akayev and in April 21, 2005, the commission published a report on companies controlled by Akayev’s family.
The tulip revolution brought regime change in Kyrgyzstan. He forced President Askar Akayev to resign, ending his dictatorial and corrupt government, as stated by the OSCE. It led to the formation of an interim government that was to oversee the restoration of peace in the country. In June 10, 2005, presidential elections were held in which Bakiyev and Kulov appointed the prime minister. The elections were praised by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for being free, fair and well organized.
Akayev then took legal action against the president of the anti-corruption commission in Bakiyev’s government claiming that the corruption cases labeled against him were false. Akayev also sued a journalist for defamation.
Many believe that the tulip revolution represented an important turning point for Kyrgyzstan, as this led to the end of President Akayev’s corrupt and intolerant reign. He also gave an example to other Asian governments who thought their governments were not ready for democracy. From this revolution, we learn that the lack of transparency and fairness in a state causes disorder. Democracy is therefore essential for the stability of a government.