Kyrgyz Parliament to Mull Akayev Resignation

Kyrgyzstan's parliament on Wednesday delayed consideration of President Askar Akayev's (search) resignation one more day, scheduling a special session that lawmakers hope will bring a public end to the political turmoil that has engulfed this ex-Soviet republic.

Parliamentary speaker Omurbek Tekebayev agreed with lawmakers who called for the parliamentary session Thursday to be broadcast live to this nation of 5 million.

"The whole country will be witness to the discussions," Tekebayev said.

Akayev wrote and signed a one-page resignation letter Monday in the Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow, where the ousted leader sought refuge after protesters stormed his office on March 24 and the opposition seized power.

It was supposed to take effect Tuesday, but parliament adjourned without considering the matter when lawmakers failed to muster a quorum.

The delay only added to the confusion that has gripped this Central Asian nation since Akayev's ouster. Kyrgyz officials pushed hard to secure Akayev's resignation, seen as a significant step toward restoring political order and legitimizing the new leaders.

Popular anger against what many saw as rigged parliamentary elections earlier this year fueled the revolt against Akayev. The parliament elected in that vote was allowed to keep its seats despite Akayev's ouster, and it named Tekebayev, one of Akayev's longtime foes, as speaker.

Some officials are angry that 60-year-old Akayev is being allowed to resign rather than face impeachment.

But Tekebayev, who led the delegation that secured Akayev's resignation, argued strongly against that, saying lawmakers secured his voluntary resignation in exchange for security and other guarantees.

Felix Kulov, a former opposition leader jailed for more than four years by Akayev on charges widely considered politically motivated, called for a speedy resolution.

"We need to move on," he said.

Kulov, who was freed after Akayev's ouster, has said he intends to run for the presidency in elections set for June 26. The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed one of the corruption convictions against him. The court is expected to consider the other conviction Thursday. Kulov needs to be cleared in both cases to run.

Kyrgyzstan (search) was the latest former Soviet republic to be upended by popular protests. Mass protests ushered the opposition into power in Ukraine last year and Georgia in 2003.