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Sapar Isakov Appointed New Kyrgyz Prime Minister

Sapar Isakov - Parliament - Kyrgyzstan - 25.08.2017

By RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has signed a decree appointing Sapar Iskov as the country's new prime minister.

Atambaev officially released Iskov from his position as the president's chief of staff in a decree issued on August 26.

Kyrgyzstan's parliament on August 25 approved Iskov as the new premier, but Atambaev needed to sign off on the move.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved Isakov and his proposed cabinet in a vote on August 25, days after Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov stepped down so he can stand in the country's October 15 presidential election.

Of the 102 lawmakers present, 97 voted in favor of Isakov, a member of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

The 40-year-old Isakov is a career diplomat and had previously overseen foreign policy at Atambaev's office. He is seen as a loyal ally of Atambaev.

Atambaev's presidential term ends later this year and he cannot seek reelection. Some critics fear he seek to maintain power by positioning himself to become the next prime minister or installing an ally in the role.

In 2016, Atambaev proposed constitutional amendments – approved in a December 2016 referendum -- that boosted the powers of the prime minister.

Opponents fear the amendments are designed to keep him and his allies in power indefinitely.

With reporting by Kabar