Asia-Pacific

Senior official leaves Kyrgyzstan government

Protesters in Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan - 19 May 2010
Image caption Tensions have remained high in parts of Kyrgyzstan since the April violence

A senior official in Kyrgyzstan's interim government has resigned, saying he doubted its commitment to democratic reform.

Edil Baisalov, the chief of staff to acting president Roza Otunbayeva, said he was forming a new party to contest parliamentary elections in October.

He is the most senior official to leave the interim government since President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April.

Mr Bakiyev was forced to flee after mass protests turned violent.

Both the US and Russia are watching events in Kyrgyzstan closely. Both have military bases in the Central Asian nation which they consider strategically vital.

'New faces'

The interim government has been working to regain control of the country since then, but there have been sporadic clashes in the south and outbreaks of ethnic violence.

The authorities had promised a presidential election in October, as well as parliamentary polls, but have now put this back a year.

Mr Baisalov, a prominent civic activist, said Kyrgyzstan needed a new political party and some new faces in power.

"At the current moment it is necessary to return the republic to a democratic path and I, as an active citizen, have made the decision that a new force should take part in the elections," he said.

And he hit out at the current government.

"I doubt that the new authorities will provide deeper democratic reforms. Look at the staffing arrangement - nothing has changed," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

More than 80 people were killed in the 7 April violence that ousted Mr Bakiyev.