* Reformist ex-deputy PM wins backing from parliament
* Previous government brought down by corruption scandal
* Agenda includes tricky talks with Canadian mine group
By Olga Dzyubenko
BISHKEK, April 3 Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted
overwhelmingly on Thursday to appoint reformer Joomart Otorbayev
as prime minister and avert a political crisis in the volatile
Central Asian nation where two leaders have been overthrown in
the past decade.
The previous government, led by Zhantoro Satybaldiyev,
resigned on March 18 after the ruling coalition fell apart in a
row over alleged corruption.
Otorbayev, a deputy prime minister in the previous
government, was proposed for approval by the same three
parliamentary factions which once backed Satybaldiyev. They
reunited to avoid further tension in the country, where violent
revolts have felled two presidents since 2005.
"Our common goal is a developed Kyrgyzstan, and together we
will achieve it," Otorbayev told deputies after a 103-7 vote for
Such a unanimous vote is unusual for Kyrgyzstan, which
stands out for its efforts to build a genuine parliamentary
system in a region where autocrats in other post-Soviet states
treat national assemblies as rubber stamps.
The prime minister enjoys strong executive powers in the
former Soviet republic of 5.5 million people, and President
Almazbek Atambayev had to formally accept the resignation of the
government when the ruling coalition collapsed.
The corruption scandal broke out after the socialist-minded
Ata Meken party said it was leaving the coalition in protest at
alleged abuse of office and misappropriation of state funds and
foreign aid by Satybaldiyev when he was in charge of restoring
the southern city of Osh after ethnic clashes there in 2010.
Satybaldiyev has made no public comment on the allegations.
Otorbayev, 58, is a doctor of physico-mathematical sciences.
He was a deputy prime minister in charge of investment when
President Askar Akayev was deposed by an uprising in March 2005.
He later worked as an adviser for the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development.
Otorbayev faces a daunting task to reduce poverty and speed
up economic growth in a nation whose per capita gross domestic
product (GDP) is $1,300, or just a tenth of that in oil-rich
One million Kyrgyz citizens work abroad, mainly in Russia,
sending home remittances worth over $2 billion a year, or about
30 percent of the country's GDP.
Otorbayev will also have to continue difficult talks with
Canadian mining company Centerra Gold on forming a new
joint venture to run Kumtor, Kyrgyzstan's largest gold mine.
Located in the Tuen Shan mountains near the border with
China, the mine accounted for 7.7 percent of Kyrgyz national
economic output, 24 percent of industrial production and 36.5
percent of all exports last year. The opposition has staged
violent rallies calling for it to be nationalised.
The mainly Muslim country lies on a drug trafficking route
out of Afghanistan and hosts a Russian military air base. The
United States set up an air base in Kyrgyzstan in 2001 but plans
to withdraw its last servicemen in July.
(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)