08-04-2005

But who are the leaders who have taken power after President Askar Baskayev left the country? There is acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Felix Kulov, a popular former opposition leader whom may challenge Bakiyev for the presidency if elections are held as proposed in June. Gerhard Mangott is an expert on the region. He's from the Austrian Institute for International Affairs and told Hal Rock about the two main contenders for power in Kyrgyzstan....

Presidential elections are apparently planned for June. Can this revolution hold, in your view, and can these two men work together? Some observers say there is not much love lost between them.

"No, not at all. They can't work together so what I expect is a more serious split and we all don't know at the moment what risk that entails. It might even include violent clashes between the different clans these two people are representing. Kulov is a Russian speaker from the north of the country and he is quite close to the clans that supported Akayev for a couple of years throughout the 1990s. Bakiyev is from the south and he represents the more Islamic, the more rural people in the south of the country. So, they have two different backgrounds with regard to their regional affiliations and they have different ideas about what to do with Kyrgyzstan."