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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Kyrgyz MPs hear Akayev farewell
Akayev statement shown on Kyrgyz TV - 7/4/05
Mr Akayev's address was shown on national TV
Kyrgyzstan's parliament has heard a taped resignation speech by ousted President Askar Akayev.

Mr Akayev said he had intended to step down after October elections anyway, and that his last order as Kyrgyzstan's leader for 15 years was "not to shoot".

But MPs have yet to accept his resignation, amid a row over the rights and privileges he would retain.

They decided to delay elections originally scheduled for June until this issue is resolved.

The taped address was the start of a special parliamentary session to debate how to bring a formal end to the rule of Mr Akayev, who fled to Moscow following protests in March.

Kyrgyzstan's new rulers want to restore order and hold new parliamentary polls.

"Dear Deputies! I officially declare today that I resigned ahead of time from the post of president of Kyrgyzstan," he said in the address.

AKAYEV'S DOWNFALL
1990: Askar Akayev elected president for the first time
27 Feb 2005: Parliamentary elections spark protests, amid allegations of fraud
13 March: Protests escalate following second round of elections
21 March: Demonstrators take over official buildings in the south of the country
24 March: Protests spread to Bishkek, where demonstrators seize presidential palace. Akayev leaves for Russia
25 March: Kurmanbek Bakiev appointed acting president
4 April: Akayev resigns

Mr Akayev went on to call for fair polls, stressed that relations with Russia should remain a priority, and warned against using "outside forces" to settle Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs.

He said that he had prevented a civil war by ordering the country's armed forces not to open fire, as protesters stormed Mr Akayev's offices two weeks ago.

"I am convinced that in the future the Akayev period will be recognised as a bright period in Kyrgyz history. I did all that I could, but let whoever comes next do more."

At the end of the 18-minute address, Mr Akayev was shown standing next to the Kyrgyz flag, holding up the resignation agreement he signed for Kyrgyz lawmakers visiting Moscow on Monday.

Kyrgyzstan's new interim leaders had wanted Mr Akayev to formally resign so that fresh presidential elections could be held to decide his successor.

But parliament has yet to decide on whether to accept his resignation. Some lawmakers say Mr Akayev should be impeached, or even put on trial for having fled the country at such a critical moment.

If he were allowed to resign, he would retain the parliamentary immunity and certain privileges granted to heads of state.

New election date

New presidential elections had been tentatively scheduled for 26 June. But lawmakers on Thursday voted to annul the date, which had been set by the outgoing parliament, and to set a new one after they have decided on Mr Akayev's resignation.

Both Kyrgyzstan's acting President, Kurmanbek Bakiev, and another senior figure in the new administration, Felix Kulov, have already announced they will run for the top job.

But Mr Kulov must first be cleared of the corruption conviction that saw him jailed while Mr Akayev was in power. It is widely considered to have been politically motivated.

One of the charges was quashed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The court is expected to consider the other one on Thursday.

Demonstrators who ousted Mr Akayev had complained about official corruption, and disputed parliamentary elections.

Uncertainty still continues over these elections, which brought the current parliament to power.

In an echo of the protest movement which overthrew the president, protesters in the town of Naryn in central Kyrgyzstan occupied two government offices on Thursday.

They are backing the local deputy, who lost his right to a seat in parliament when a court annulled the local election results because of electoral violations.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the protests that forced Akayev to flee



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