Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Otorbayev tells parliament he resigns
Bishkek, KyrgyzstanApr 23, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Apr 23, 2015 12:00 am
Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister resigned on Thursday following his government's inability to conclude a new deal with Canada's Centerra Gold for the country's biggest gold mine.
Jomart Otorbaev has come under heavy pressure from parliament in recent weeks as negotiations over the Centerra-operated Kumtor gold mine stalled.
Addressing the parliament, the 59-year-old former advisor at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development said he expected his successor to be more "decisive".
"A lot of work was done, however, we were unable to finish many things," he said.
"In the current situation the government needs a shakeup in order to improve its future work."
He added that his decision would enable the ruling coalition to "choose a more decisive prime minister."
Otorbaev's government fell short of securing improved ownership terms for Kumtor, which accounted for 7.4 percent of gross domestic product last year.
Centerra has been bombarded by nationalisation threats from several lawmakers in recent years.
A country of almost six million people, Kyrgyzstan is the only of the five Central Asian states to host competitive elections and an independent multi-party legislature, but it has been plagued by political unrest and instability.
Otorbaev, who had served for a little over a year, was Kyrgyzstan's fourth head of government in as many years.
He left his post ahead of parliamentary elections likely to be hotly contested later in the year.
Otorbaev helped lead the government in negotiations on accession to the Eurasian Economic Union consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, which is expected to go ahead next month.
One member of parliament, Jyldyzkan Joldosheva, began crying shortly after Otorbaev's announcement, asking how the country could "change prime ministers before such an important event?"
"This is a government, not some sort of firm. When are you going to think of the people?" she raged in the parliament.
Around a million Kyrgyz work as migrant labourers in Russia with remittances estimated to be worth up to a third of GDP.
The World Bank expects remittances to drop by up to a quarter this year, as the Russian economy toils under the weight of low oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine.