Homepage > News > World > 

Backgrounder: Basic facts about Kyrgyzstan

2010-04-08 16:22 BJT

BISHKEK, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Following are some facts about Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan, which covers an area of 198,500 square km, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia with Kazakhstan bordering to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south and China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to the southeast.

It has a population of 5.17 million, consisting of over 80 ethnic groups. Kyrgyzs account for 65 percent of the total population. The Kyrgyz language is called the "state" language and Russian the "official" language.

The country's capital, Bishkek, lies at the center of the Chu River basin. The Chu River valley, a short cut connecting the Central Asian steppe with China's northwestern desert, was part of the ancient Silk Road.

Kyrgyzstan is rich in natural resources. Its antimony production ranks third in the world. Within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), its production of tin and mercury ranks second and hydropower resources rank third. Its agriculture, the leading economic sector, primarily produces wheat, beet, corn and tobacco.

Kyrgyzstan passed its first constitution in May 1993 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. An amendment to the constitution, approved by a national referendum in 2003, transformed Kyrgyzstan's presidential government into a presidential-parliamentary regime.

Under the constitution, any Kyrgyz citizen who is between 35 and 65 years old and has been residing in the country for more than 15 years is qualified to be a candidate for presidential elections.

The candidate garnering more than 50 percent of the vote in a valid first round, defined as having a turnout over 50 percent, will be the president-elect. If there is no outright winner in the first round, the two highest placed candidates will go forward to a second round.

The president has a five-year term and is allowed to be reelected once. Incumbent President Kurmanbek Bakiev, who won the previous elections in July 2005, is now seeking a second term in office.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua