March 19, 2014 / 7:48 AM / in 5 years

Kyrgyzstan's leader accepts government's resignation

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev speaks during a news conference at the Ala-Archa state residence outside Bishkek December 29, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev accepted the government’s resignation on Wednesday after a dispute over alleged corruption in the ex-Soviet republic deprived the ruling coalition of its parliamentary majority.

The new crisis threatens a fragile peace in the impoverished, mainly Muslim Central Asian country of 5.5 million people, which has seen two presidents deposed by popular uprisings since 2005.

The cabinet of technocrat Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev, elected by parliament in September 2012, will continue working until a new government is formed, according to a decree signed by Atambayev.

Under the constitution, Atambayev can dissolve parliament and call an early election if the assembly fails to elect a new premier in three consecutive votes.

The Ata Meken party quit the ruling coalition on Tuesday, accusing Satybaldiyev of abuse of office and misappropriation of state and foreign funds and aid when he was in charge of helping the south recover from bloody ethnic clashes in June 2010.

The prime minister holds extensive executive powers in Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous country that neighbors China and lies on a drug trafficking route out of Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan is struggling to build a parliamentary democracy in a region where autocrats in other post-Soviet states treat their legislatures as rubber stamps.

Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Gareth Jones

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