Legal System and Legal Research in the Kyrgyz Republic

By Sanzhar Beksultanov and Mirfozil Khasanov

Sanzhar Beksultanov is a lawyer at KIA Motors Kyrgyzstan and a Secretary of the Public Supervisory Board of the State Service of Intellectual Property and Innovations under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. He holds B.A. degree in International and Business law from the American University of Central Asia. Mirfozil (Fazil) Khasanov worked for US and international human rights and humanitarian organizations in education, training and torture prevention projects. He co-authored articles on civil society development in Uzbekistan and was responsible for the project of official translation of international humanitarian law instruments into Uzbek.

Published March/April 2021
(Previously updated by Sania Battalova in March 2006; by Sultan Tolomushev and Mirfozil Khasanov in April/May 2014; and by Sanzhar Beksultanov and Mirfozil Khasanov in February 2017)
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1. Introduction

Located in in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country that shares its borders with Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the southwest, Tajikistan in the south, and China in the east. The country’s full name is the Kyrgyz Republic; its brief name is Kyrgyzstan. The total area of Kyrgyzstan is 199,000 square kilometers, with 94.2 % of its territory lying at 1,000 meters above sea level and 40.8% at 3,000 meters above sea level. The average height above sea level is 2,750 meters—the maximum altitude is 7,439 meters, and the minimum altitude is 401 meters. Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate. The temperature may drop to -40◦C in winter and rise to 40◦C in summer. All the natural zones are presented in Kyrgyzstan except the tropical zone, and it is one of 20 countries that are fully provided with fresh water.

At the beginning of 2020, according to preliminary estimates, the resident population of the Kyrgyz Republic was 6,523,529 people. Of this number, the indigenous population (Kyrgyz) accounted for about 73.6%. The State language is Kyrgyz, and the overwhelming majority of the population speaks Russian (also an official language) (Article 10, Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic). Major religions include Christianity and Islam, the majority of the population being Sunni Muslim.

For the purposes of organizing the state government and the local self-government, the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic is divided by law into administrative-territorial units:

  • 7 provinces: Batken, Chui, Issyk-kul, Jalal-abad, Naryn, Talas, Osh
  • 2 cities recognized as having ‘republic’ (national) importance: Osh and Bishkek
  • 40 districts
  • 31 cities

The capital of Kyrgyzstan is Bishkek.

Map of Kyrgyzstan

The territory of Kyrgyzstan is one of the ancient centers of human civilization. Stone utensils found in the Tian Shan Mountains denote the presence of human society within the territory of Kyrgyzstan as many as 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. The first written records of a civilization in the area occupied by Kyrgyzstan are stipulated in Chinese chronicles that date back to 2000 B.C.

The Kyrgyz tribes, spread over a vast territory, actively participated in the historic events of Central Asia. They managed to preserve their ethnic autonomy and inspired other ethnic groups. In 1863 the northern part, and in 1876 the southern parts, of Kyrgyzstan joined the Russian Empire. After the socialist revolution in 1917, the Kyrgyz, together with all the peoples of the former Tsarist Russia, formed Soviet republics.

In 1918 Kyrgyzstan became part of the Turkestan ASSR. After the state demarcation of Soviet republics in Central Asia on October 14, 1924, the Kara-Kyrgyz (since May 25, 1925, “Kyrgyz”) autonomous province was formed as part of the Russian Federation. On February 1, 1926, it was transformed into the Kyrgyz ASSR and on December 5, 1936, into the Kyrgyz SSR.

The Kyrgyz people received national independence and sovereignty in a peaceful way after the breakup of the USSR. December 15, 1990 is the day of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Republic, and August 31, 1991 is the day of its declaration of independence. According to the Constitution, the Kyrgyz Republic is a sovereign, unitary, democratic republic, and it is based on the principles of a secular state. The people of Kyrgyzstan are the sovereignty bearers and the only source of state power.

2. State Structure

The basic principles of the state structure of the Kyrgyz Republic are defined by the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, adopted through a nationwide referendum on June 27, 2010 that replaced the previous Constitution of 1993. The 2010 Constitution brought Kyrgyzstan back from a presidential republic to a parliamentary one. Though the 1993 Constitution also provided for the parliamentary system, subsequent amendments transitioned it into a presidential republic. On December 11, 2016, another referendum on amending the Constitution was held. As a result, a number of amendments were adopted on January 1, 2017 (please refer to Constitutional Reform of 2016 section below).

The Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) is a sovereign, unitary, democratic, secular, and social state governed by the rule of law. The state power in the Kyrgyz Republic is based on the following principles:

  • supremacy of the popular power, represented and ensured by the Jogorku Kenesh and the President of the Kyrgyz Republic nationally elected
  • separation of state power
  • openness and the accountability of the state authorities, self-governed state bodies with responsibilities and authorities in the interest of the people
  • separation of functions and powers of state authorities and local self-government

State power in the Kyrgyz Republic is represented and exercised by:

  • President of the Kyrgyz Republic
  • Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) of the Kyrgyz Republic
  • Executive power of the Kyrgyz Republic
    • Government of the Kyrgyz Republic
    • Local State Administration
  • Courts and justices of the Kyrgyz Republic
    • Supreme Court
    • Military Court
    • Appeals court of the second instance
    • Local courts of the first instance

As of 2020, the Ministry of Justice’s registry contained records of 9,581 public associations, 6,633 public foundations, 483 religious organizations, and 262 political parties. The major political parties include Respublika (Republic), Kyrgyzstan, Ata Meken (Fatherland), Bir Bol (Be United), Birimdik (Solidarity), Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan is my Motherland), Zamandash (Contemporary), Mekenchil (Patriotic), and Reforma (Reform).

There are about 2,560 mass media registered in Kyrgyzstan. They disseminate their news in Kyrgyz, Russian Uzbek, German, Turkish, Chinese, Uighur, and English. The largest circulations have newspapers such as Slovo Kyrgyzstana, Vecherniy Bishkek, Delo №, and Erkin Too. The largest news agencies and mass media, which operate online, include, Akipress, Superinfo, Kaktus Media, Sputnik Kyrgyzstan, Turmush, K-News, Tazabek, Azattyk, Kloop, and others.

3. President of Kyrgyzstan

In the Kyrgyz Republic the institution of the Presidency was established on October 24, 1990, by the Supreme Council of the Kyrgyz Republic of the twelfth convocation. On October 27, 1990, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan elected Askar Akayev as the President of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic. At the nationwide elections on October 12, 1991, he was elected as the first President of the independent Kyrgyzstan. The people of Kyrgyzstan confirmed Akayev’s powers as the president of state at the national referendum on January 30, 1994. On December 24, 1995, Askar Akayev, was re-elected.

The regular presidential elections were expected to be held in October, 2005. However, 2005 parliamentary elections that preceded the presidential elections were seen by many Kyrgyzstanis as corrupt. They triggered public protests that led to the ousting of the President Akayev, an event that the media quickly called the “Tulip Revolution.”

Very much like Georgia’s Rose Revolution and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, the Tulip Revolution was a result of fraudulent elections, empowered civil society, general impoverishment of the population, and widespread corruption in the public sector. The revolution in Kyrgyzstan was different from the other so-called “color revolutions” by the absence of a shared ideological platform of the opposition and the leading party, as well as differences among oppositionists about the future of the country. Over the course of the revolution, a peculiar union of leaders was made—Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Felix Kulov were both once part of the staff of top leadership, and at times were in opposition to the former president.[1]

An extraordinary (special) presidential election was conducted on July 10, 2005. There were six candidates for the office of the president, including the then-acting President Bakiyev and Kulov. However, in order to avoid the rift in the government and to immediately put an end to political instability, Kulov and Bakiyev reached an agreement in the second week of May: that Kulov would leave the political battle, and Bakiyev, if elected as the President, would appoint Kulov to the Office of the Prime Minister.

In the extraordinary presidential elections of July 10, 2006, Bakiyev was elected as the second president of the country, winning 88.82 % of the vote. Among the newly elected president’s priorities were:

  • to build a new architecture for power that would not permit a return to authoritarianism;
  • to dismantle the corrupted system;
  • to bring in new economic policy, which would provide an auspicious environment for economic growth;
  • to move a new generation of young highly qualified and honest leaders and politicians out of the administrative sphere of influence.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev failed to implement the abovementioned priorities. On April 6, 2010, a demonstration was led by the leaders of opposition to protest against government corruption and increased living expenses. The latter resulted in nationwide mass protests. According to governmental reports, almost 90 people were killed and around 450 people were hospitalized as a result of clashes between protesters and police. Bakiyev resigned on April 15, 2014. Opposition organized an interim government headed by Roza Otunbayeva.

On June 27, a constitutional referendum was held. The new constitution made Kyrgyzstan a parliamentary democracy, moving it away from a presidential system. President Otunbayeva held the office of the “President of Transitional Period” until replaced by Almazbek Atambayev, the winner of the October 30, 2011 election. Currently, the presidential term is six years long, and re-election is barred.

On October 15, 2017, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, a pro-presidential party member, won the following presidential election, marking the first peaceful transfer of power in Kyrgyzstan’s history. Jeenbekov was a protégé of his predecessor Atambayev and was expected to continue on Atambayev’s path but chose to go in his own direction. One of the core goals of Jeenbekov’s presidency was to fight corruption.

In June 2019, a special parliamentary commission concluded that Atambayev may be involved in several crimes connected with corruption, and the Office of the General Prosecutor confirmed that there were grounds for initiating a criminal case. Soon after, Atambayev’s former president status was revoked, which meant that he no longer enjoyed immunity. In August of the same year, Atambayev was arrested. At the moment, the court of the first instance held Atambayev guilty and sentenced him to 11 years and two months of imprisonment for one episode of corruption. More information about thePresident can be found on the official website.

Today, issues like election procedure, competences, and termination of are regulated by the third section of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, entitled “President.” Powers of the President are defined in Article 64 of the Constitution: the President of the Kyrgyz Republic is the head of the state, the supreme official, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The President of the Kyrgyz Republic directs foreign policy, represents the Kyrgyz Republic in and outside the country, takes measures to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kyrgyz Republic, and ensures the integrity and continuity of state power as well as the coordinated interactions of state bodies and their responsibilities to the people.

The President nominates Supreme Court judges and the Chairman of the National Bank to the Jogorku Kenesh for appointment or election, appoints a Prosecutor General with the consent of the Jogorku Kenesh, signs and promulgates laws or returns them with his objections, publicizes laws, appoints elections to the parliament as well as to local councils, and chairs the Council of Defense.

3.1. Constitutional Reform of 2016

In 2016, the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan initiated constitutional reforms, planning to put into force over 30 amendments to the Constitution. They were put on a referendum scheduled for December 11, 2016, which was expected to be held pursuant to the amended law on the referendum of 2016.

On October 31, 2016, the President Atambayev signed into law the bill on Constitutional amendments on referendum. Reportedly, the act aimed to harmonize the law on referendum with Articles. 2, 74, 79, 106, 114 of the Constitution, and with the law on the election of the President and the deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh, the law on the election commissions for elections and referenda, and the law on citizens’ initiative to propose legislation. According to the new law, the referendum on constitutional amendments can be initiated by at least the two-thirds of the parliamentarians, or 300,000 voters. The referendum on any other issue can be initiated by a parliamentarian, the government of the Kyrgyz Republic, or 10,000 voters. The referendum is deemed to be valid if over 30% of registered voters participate, and the referendum issue to have been supported if it gains more than 50% of the vote. The referendum may be found not to be valid if the voting results in electoral circuits covering over one third of the voters who participated have been found not valid.

The constitutional law to amend the Constitution on the nationwide referendum was confirmed by the Constitutional Chamber under the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, approved by the majority deputies of the Parliament, and signed by the President. The referendum was scheduled for December 11, 2016. The reported objective of the constitutional reform was to strengthen parliamentarism by allocating more power to the Prime Minister and the Parliament (if the amendments are passed, the Prime Minister would have a right to save his deputy mandate, i.e., simultaneously be a representative of both executive and legislative bodies). The constitutional amendments also named its so-called “highest values” that, in addition to human rights and freedoms, are to include independence, national interests, and the territorial integrity of the country; national unity, rule of law, and the preservation of the national culture and language; morals and family values; an enabling environment for personal development; and favorable environmental (ecological) conditions. Among other widely discussed amendments are the right of the President to form a disciplinary commission for judges, the right of the government to revoke citizenship based on involvement in terrorist activities, and the transfer of rights to investigate economic crimes from the Prosecutor General’s Office to the State Committee for the National Security.

4. Parliament (Jogorku Kenesh)

The Jogorku Kenesh is the parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic:

  • Is the highest representative body;
  • Exercises a legislative power;
  • Exercises oversight functions within the limits of its competence.

The Jogorku Kenesh adopts laws scheduling referenda; calls for presidential elections; makes changes to the Constitution; adopts laws; ratifies and denunciates international treaties; approves the national budget and hears reports on its execution; issues amnesty acts; approves the program of the activity of the government, defines the government’s structure and composition, except for the members heading state agencies in charge of issues of defense and national security; makes decisions regarding confidence in the government; elects the judges of the Supreme Court, the Chairperson of the National Bank, the Central Electoral Commission, and the Human Rights Ombudsman; declares states of emergency; holds the power to bring charges against and impeach the President; and decides on the issues of peace and war, court martials, state of war, and the use of the Armed Forces outside the country, pursuant to international commitments. Powers of Jogorku Kenesh are defined in Article 74 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Jogorku Kenesh hears annual reports by the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Prime Minister, the Prosecutor General, the Chairman of the National Bank, and the Chairman of the Audit Chamber. According to the Constitution of 2010, the Jogorku Kenesh is unicameral and consists of 120 members, elected for five-year terms by party-list proportional voting. Parties are limited to 65 seats in order to prevent power concentration. The Toraga (Speaker) of the Jogorku Kenesh and his or her deputies are chosen by the Jogorku Kenesh from its parliamentarians. The Jogorku Kenesh may form committees and temporary commissions. Budget and public order commissions must be chaired by the parliamentary opposition.

4.1. Lawmaking

The right to initiate laws belongs to:

  • 10,000 voters (popular initiative);
  • a member of the Jogorku Kenesh;
  • the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Bills are submitted to the Jogorku Kenesh. Pursuant to the Law on Regulation of the Jogorku Kenesh of 2011 (amended 2016), the submitted bill goes to the legal service of the committee and then to the Expert Group on National Security under the Speaker. Upon positive feedback from both, the Speaker sends it to the appropriate committee of the Jogorku Kenesh. The committee is obliged to submit the bill with the conclusion for consideration in the Jogorku Kenesh’s sessions within one month. The bill is deemed accepted if it passes four readings by the majority of the deputies’ votes.

A law accepted by the Jogorku Kenesh goes to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic for signing within 14 days. The President signs the law or returns it with objections to the Jogorku Kenesh for re-examination no later than one month from the date of receipt. If the law is approved in the earlier-defined fashion by at least two-thirds of the total number of deputies of Jogorku Kenesh upon re-examination, the law must be signed by the President within 14 days of its receipt.

The law comes into force ten days after its promulgation, unless provided otherwise in the law itself or in the law on the procedure for its entry into force. The mechanism of the popular right to initiate legislation is defined in the Law on Popular Legislative Initiative of November 16, 2011.

5. Government

According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the ministries subordinated to it, state committees, administrative departments, and local state administration. The government is headed by the Prime Minister and consists of the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, vice-prime ministers, ministers, and chairpersons of the state committees of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Pursuant to constitutional law, the Prime Minister may change the composition of the government with the approval of the Jogorku Kenesh. The Jogorku Kenesh approved following structure on November 9, 2016:

  • Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • Ministry of Healthcare
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism
  • Ministry of Education and Science
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry, and Amelioration
  • Ministry of Transport and Roads
  • Ministry of Economy
  • Ministry of Emergency
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Labor and Social Development
  • Ministry of Finance
  • State Committee for the National Security
  • State Committee for the Defense Matters
  • State Committee for the Industry, Energy, and Subsoil Management
  • State Committee for the Information Technologies and Communications

More information about members of government can be found on the Kyrgyz Republic’s government’s website.

The Prime Minister is nominated by a parliamentary faction, or coalition of factions, representing more than half of the total number of mandates from the 15 working days following the day of its first proceeding. The candidate for the office of the Prime Minister submits a program, structure, and composition for the government to the Jogorku. In the event that the Jogorku Kenesh fails to approve the program within the given time period or neither party receives more than half of the deputies’ mandates, the President may allow 15 working days for a faction of his choice to create a parliamentary majority and nominate a candidate for the Office of the Prime Minister.

The government is responsible to the Jogorku Kenesh within the limits stipulated by the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic. The legal status of the Government and its competences are regulated by the Constitution and in the Law on the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (June 18, 2012).

The government ensures the implementation of the Constitution and the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic; implements internal and foreign policy of the state; carries out measures to uphold law and order, to protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens, to maintain public order, and to combat crime; implements financial, pricing, tariff, investment, and tax policy; drafts and submits the national budget to the Jogorku Kenesh and provides for its implementation; reports to the Jogorku Kenesh regarding the implementation of the national budget; implements a unified state policy; develops and carries out nationwide programs for development; handles foreign economic activities; and manages interactions with civil society.

6. Legal System

The legal system of Kyrgyzstan was developed within the framework of Soviet law and has, in the post-independence period, been moving towards a modern legal system. In many aspects it bears similarities to legal systems of the Russian Federation and other former Soviet republics, now members of the CIS.

The basic source of the rule of law in Kyrgyzstan is legislation. The hierarchy of statutory acts, determined by the Law on Normative Legal Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic of July 20, 2009 (as of July 7, 2014), is as follows:

  • The Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic or law introducing alterations thereto
  • Constitutional laws
  • Codes
  • Laws
  • Decrees of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic
  • Resolutions of Jogorku Kenesh
  • Resolutions of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic
  • Acts of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic and of the Central Commission for elections and referenda
  • Normative legal acts of state authorities with delegated powers to legislate
  • Normative legal acts of representative bodies of local self-government authorities

The government of the Kyrgyz Republic has a right to delegate a part of their right-creative powers to subordinated bodies if it does not contradict the Constitution and laws of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Before the last amendments to the Constitution in 2016, to resolve discrepancy of the law or another normative act, either the concluded international agreements in which the Kyrgyz Republic participates or generally accepted international law norms established by these agreements were applied. Pursuant to the effective rule, established in Article 6 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, terms and conditions of enforcing international agreements and rules of generally accepted norms of international law shall be defined by respective laws (by which the international contracts are ratified).

The authority of a conventional law, adat, has been restored by the Law on Courts of Aksakals of July 5, 2002 in Kyrgyzstan. The law allows establishing courts of aksakals (elders) and defines basic requirements for their composition and competence. However, the institution plays rather a limited and complementary role to the courts of law.

Civil-law relations are regulated by the Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Civil Code follows the Model Civil Code authorized by the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the state-participants of the CIS. The first part of the Civil Code came into force on May 8, 1996 and replaced the previous Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic (dated July 30, 1964). The second part of the Civil Code came into force on January 5, 1998. Both parts are being amended or altered to meet the evolving market economy and rule of law.

The new Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Republic consists of the following sections: general statements and regulations of civil-legal relationships; property law; obligatory rights, including separate types of insurance; intellectual property law; inheritance law; and the application of norms of international and private law to civil and legal relationships.

Laws of the Kyrgyz Republic are published simultaneously in Kyrgyz and Russian in the newspaper Erkin-Too and issued in the Collection of Laws of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sheets of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Collection of Laws and Acts of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. Laws and other statutory acts in the specified editions are officially published. Signed by the President, the law is subject to publication in Erkin-Too within seven days (according to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic of February 14, 1997 with amendments on June 16, 1998 and August 1, 2003).

7. Judicial System

The administration of justice in Kyrgyzstan is exercised only by the courts. The judiciary system of the Kyrgyz Republic is established and governed by the Constitution and laws of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic is the supreme body of judicial power in the sphere of civil, criminal, and administrative legal proceedings and exercises supervision over the judicial activity of province, city, district, and military courts of the Republic.

The competences, organization, and procedure of the activity of the Supreme court are defined by the Constitution, the Law on the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic and Local Courts, the Law on the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Law on Judges’ Self-Governance, the Law on Jurors of the Courts, the Law on Public Service, the Law on State Duties, and the Law on Enforcement Proceedings and Judicial Enforcement Agents. The 2010 Constitution replaced the Constitutional Court of the Kyrgyz Republic with the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic.

8. Local Administration

The history of Kyrgyzstan is rich with local self-government traditions. During the Soviet period many traditions of self-government were rejected. New trends in the attitude towards local self-government began to emerge during the perestroika (reconstruction) policy reforms announced in April of 1985. In 1990, the USSR adopted a law on the general principles of local self-government that became a model for the Law on General Principles of Local Self-Government of the Kyrgyz Republic of 1991.

The law created a legal mechanism for decentralization of the government. On March 4, 1992, the Jogorku Kenesh introduced cardinal amendments to this normative legal document and changed its name to the Law on Local Self-Government and Local State Administration in the Kyrgyz Republic. Currently, the new Law on Local Self Government of July 15, 2011 is in force.

According to the law, the system of local self-government includes such concepts as local communities, municipal property, municipal services, local self-governance body, local representative bodies called kenesh (council), local executive-administrative bodies, officials of self-government, other bodies formed by the population, and assemblies and meetings of citizens.

The system of local self-government is comprised of local kenesh and mayor offices. Executive bodies of self-governance are accountable to local keneshes in their activity. Local self-governance is carried out by local communities either directly or through local self-government bodies. Local keneshes approve local budgets and oversee their implementation, approve programs for social and economic development and the social protection of local community, impose taxes and dues, and make decisions regarding other issues of local importance.

State authorities have no right to interfere with the powers of local self-government. State authorities may delegate some state powers to local authorities, which become accountable to the state authorities with respect to those powers. The local self-government is responsible to the state for the observance of laws and to the local community for the outcomes of their work.

9. Electoral Process

Elections of the President, deputies of Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament), and local state authorities and the order of their realization are carried out according to the Constitutional Law on the Elections of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic and Members of Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic of July 2, 2011; the Law on the Elections of Deputies of Local Keneshes of July 14, 2011; and other laws.

The President is elected for six years. The same person may not be elected the President of the Kyrgyz Republic twice. The President must be a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic without dual citizenship who is no younger than 35 years and not older than 70 years old, with a complete command of the state language and residence in the Republic for at least 15 years before nomination of his candidacy for the President of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Central Election Commission verifies a nominee’s compliance with the requirements within five calendar days from the date of nomination. The President of the Kyrgyz Republic may not be a deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh, hold any other posts, or carry out enterprise activity. The president for the term of fulfillment of authorities should suspend activity in political parties and the organizations prior to the beginning of new elections of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Elections for the President of the Kyrgyz Republic are scheduled by the Jogorku Kenesh no less than four months prior to day of elections. The regular elections of the President are carried out on the third Sunday of November of the year his or her term expires.

The President of the Kyrgyz Republic is elected by citizens on the basis of the general equal, direct suffrage at the ballot. The number of candidates in the election of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic is not limited. A candidate for President must be a registered person who has collected no less than 30,000 signatures of voters.

The candidate is considered to be elected for the office of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic if he or she collected more than half of the ballots after the first round of voting. If in the first round of voting no candidate receives more than half of votes, the two candidates who have received the most votes move on to participate in a second round of voting. At the second voting, the candidate who receives more than half of ballots is considered elected, provided that at least 50% of all eligible voters have taken part in the election.

The regular elections for the Jogorku Kenesh are appointed by the President no earlier than 75 calendar days and no later than 60 calendar days from the day of elections and are carried out on the first Sunday of the month when the mandate of the Jogorku Kenesh expires. A citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic who is 21 years old by the date of the elections and who has the right to elect can participate in the elections to the Jogorku Kenesh. Deputies of Jogorku Kenesh are elected on the basis of the pro rata representation from electoral constituencies.

9.1. Local Administration Election Procedure

According to the Law on the Elections of Deputies of Local Keneshes of July 14, 2011, citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic who are at least 21 years old and are residents of an administrative territorial unit can be elected to local keneshes. Elections of deputies of local kenesh are scheduled by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic no later than 60 calendar days prior to the day of elections. Candidates (according to the number of mandates) who receive the majority of the vote are deemed to have been elected. Should there be more than one candidate with equal numbers of votes, the candidate with the earliest registration in the election is considered to have been elected.

10. Business Activity

The main documents governing the entrepreneurship are the Tax Code, the Civil Code, the Labor Code, the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Licensing system, the Law on State Registration of Legal Entities, and the Law on the Procedure of Inspecting Business Entities.

11. Banking Law

Banking activity in the Kyrgyz Republic is governed by the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on the National Bank, Banks, and Banking Activity of December 16, 2016. The National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic is a competent body of the Kyrgyz Republic which grants and revokes licenses for implementation of banking operations, defines monetary policy, implements currency regulation, etc. (Article 17, Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on the National Bank, Banks, and Banking Activity).

In accordance with the Law on Protection of Bank Deposits of May 7, 2008, in case of guarantee events, the state compensates every depositor up to 200,000 soms (approximately 2,500 US dollars). A guarantee event is defined by law as the consequence of an unpaid deposit due to the bankruptcy or liquidation of the bank.

12. Intellectual Property

The Decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic on the Kyrgyz Republican Copyright Agency of July 16, 1992 launched a reform in the protection of copyrights and intellectual property in the Kyrgyz Republic. Now, the state authority on intellectual property is the State Service of Intellectual Property and Innovations under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzpatent (regulations on the State Service of Intellectual Property and Innovations were approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic as of February 20, 2012). For the purpose of the development of science and intellectual property, Kyrgyzpatent developed the State Program of Development of Intellectual Property in the Kyrgyz Republic for the years 2017-2021, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic as of July 6, 2017. It should be noted that the Kyrgyz Republic is party to several international conventions in the sphere of intellectual property, such as the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, etc.

13. Labor Law

The Labor Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, adopted on October 4, 1997, regulates relations in the sphere of labor law. On August 4, 2004, a new Labor Code was adopted. In the new wording of the Labor Code, basic changes have appeared, for example, the decentralization of labor relations. Previously completely regulated by the state, working conditions are now defined at the enterprise. Rules of labor relations are established by the contract between workers and the employer. Pursuant to Labor Code, the contractual liability of an employer shall not be lower, and the liability of an employee shall not be higher, than it is provided by the Labor Code and other laws of the Kyrgyz Republic. Termination of a contract after infliction of damage entails no liability exemption for the party of labor contract. Foreign employees may work upon permission to engage and use foreign labor and work permits issued by the State Migration Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Both the Law on the Promotion of the Employment of the Population of August 3, 2015 (the edition April 15, 2020), and the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Protection of Labor of August 1, 2003 are effective in the country.

14. Property Law

Article 4 of the Constitution stipulates that property in the Kyrgyz Republic may be state and private. The Kyrgyz Republic guarantees a variety of property rights and protects the property ownership rights of citizens and other legal persons, as well as their ownership of property that takes place within the territory of other states. Property relations in the Kyrgyz Republic are regulated by the Constitution, the Civil Code, and the Law on the Privatization of State Property in the Kyrgyz Republic of March 2, 2002.

The Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Republic defines immovable property as an object that cannot be transferred from one place to another without inflicting damage disproportionate to their purpose, including forests, long-term plantations, buildings, constructions, etc. (Article 24, Civil Code of the Kyrgyz Republic). According to the Law on State Registration of Rights to Immovable Property and Contracts on Immovable Property of December 22, 1998, the majority of rights are subject to state registration.

15. Tax Law

The taxation system in Kyrgyzstan is focused on the market. It was commissioned in the beginning of 1992 and to a certain extent replicated the development of the systems of the Russian Federation. It has since been essentially harmonized with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Following its independence, the Kyrgyz Republic adopted the Law on Tax Service; the Law on Taxes for Enterprises, Corporations, and Organizations; the Law on Taxes of Population; the Law on Non-Tax Payments; the Law on State Excise; the Law on Local Taxes and Fees; and the Law on Foreign Investment. As a result, the system was bulky and inefficient, aggravated by frequent changes. It demanded tax reforms, which took place with the implementation of the Tax Code of 1996.

The Tax Code provides for the following types of taxes: profit tax, income tax, value added tax, excise tax, sales tax, land tax, property tax, and tax on subsoil use. In addition, the legislation provides for different types of non-tax payments, such as contributions to Social Fund and other charges. The Tax Code of the Kyrgyz Republic went into effect on January 1, 2009. Tax policy is regulated also by laws:

  • The Law on Base Rates of the Land Tax (for agricultural land, plots of land attached to houses, country areas, grounds of settlements, and other land not used for agricultural purposes) (March 22, 2004)
  • Law on Base Rates of the Excise Tax (on the excised goods imported and made by legal and physical persons in the Kyrgyz Republic) (January 10, 2003)
  • Law on Taxes from Enterprises, Associations, Organizations” (December 17, 1991, December 27, 2003)
  • Law on Non-Tax Payments (April 14, 1994; January 5, 2004)

Law on the Ratification of Agreements on Principles of Levy of Indirect Taxes in Mutual Trade (December 30, 2000)

16. Land Reform

According to Article 12 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, land in Kyrgyzstan can be in private, municipal, and other forms of ownership, except ownership by foreign nationals which is not allowed under current law. The Land Code of the Kyrgyz Republic differentiates between the following types of land:

  • Lands of agricultural designation
  • Lands of residential areas
  • Lands of industrial, transport, communication, energy, defensive, and other designations
  • Lands of special protected natural territories
  • Lands of the forest fund
  • Lands of the water fund
  • Reserve lands

According to the Land Code, there are two ways to get the rights to land plot: civil contracts and granting by a competent state body.

Land legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic imposes hard normative limitations for foreign entities to own or rent land plots in Kyrgyzstan. The Land Code also provides the following definition of a foreign entity (Article 1, Land Code of the Kyrgyz Republic):

  • established and registered in accordance with the legislation of a foreign state
  • fully owned by one or more foreign individuals or legal entities
  • controlled or managed by one or more foreign individuals or legal entities based on the written contract, the right to sell majority of voting shares, or the right to appoint a majority of members of the executive or supervisory body
  • registered in the Kyrgyz Republic and having at least 20% of the authorized fund owned by the foreign citizens, stateless persons, or legal entities mentioned in Land Code
  • established on the basis of an interstate treaty or agreement

The State Agency on Land Resources under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (GosRegistr) implements a uniform state policy on the state registration of titles to real estate, maintains the state cadastre records, and ensures the state protection of registered titles to real estate.

17. Web Resources

Free online access to a database of the legislation of Kyrgyzstan in Russian is available at the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic’s website. Some of the Kyrgyz laws translated into English are available at:


[1] Based on materials prepared by the political analyst Ainura Cholponkulova for the Round Table of the Social Research Center of the American University in Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, December 17, 2005.