Last updated 4/8/10 11:30 AM EST
As enormous numbers of opposition supporters continue to poor into the streets of Bishkek, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has fled aboard a small plane. Bakiyev is said to have fled to the south, where he retains popularity, and has refused to concede defeat. The leaders of the uprising have now taken control of Kyrgyzstan and are in the process of installing what they are calling a “people’s government.”
MP and former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva confirmed that she was installed as the interim president of what she described as a “caretaker government.” The government will be in power for 6 months. She said interim defense and interior ministers have been appointed and that they will soon draft a new constitution and hold elections. She said she had yet to hear from Bakiyev but urged him to resign.
Bakiyev came to power in the 2005 Tulip Revolution, a revolution backed by the US State Department. Interestingly enough most of the opposition leadership involved in the apparent takeover of the government was also heavily involved in that color-coded revolution.
The exact policies of the new government are unclear, but the Social Democratic Party seems to be taking most of the important positions and centered the uprising around allegations of endemic corruption in the Bakiyev government. The opposition was said to have been supported by the Russian government (Otunbeyeva herself is a former Soviet Ambassador) who is reportedly pledging humanitarian aid.
The sudden regime change is being watched closely by the US, whose air base in Manas is a vital source of supplies for the Afghan War. The military has temporarily halted all flights out of the nation, citing “security reasons.” Whether the base is in long-term jeopardy remains to be seen, but given the new government’s close ties to Russia (and the old regime’s close ties to the US) it may well prefer to have only Russian bases in the nation.