Challenges to democracy

Kyrgyzstan remains the most democratic nation in Central Asia, and has made exceptional progress towards democracy since the 2010 ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Different from its neighbors, Kyrgyzstan boasts free media and a government that is relatively dynamic and actively inclusive of marginalized groups. However, the country continues to be challenged by several obstacles to further democratic development, including:

  • Kyrgyzstan’s governing institutions, both national and local, remain weak with severely limited capacity.

  • Rule of law institutions suffer from endemic corruption, and police and justice forces are in desperate need of reform.

  • Political parties are relatively weak and as a result, the country’s parliament remains fragmented.

  • Institutional weakness and lack of regulation allows officials to use political outlets to secure their personal interest and financial gain.

  • Ethnic violence and discrimination against the Uzbek minority in southern Kyrgyzstan remains a prominent source of division.

  • While efforts to integrate minorities and women into the political system have been more evident and effective than Kyrgyzstan’s Central Asian counterparts, these efforts have failed to achieve their goal and progress to date may be backsliding.