19 April 2006

Rule of Law

One of my husband's students was asking why Ryspek shouldn't be allowed to take his seat in Parliament since he was elected through democratic means and the decision to let him run was upheld by the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan, which should have the final say in the matter.

I haven't been able to find anything that lists the reasoning behind the Supreme Court's decision- according to RFE/RL, the Court simply rejected the appeal. I can't find anything that states the reasoning behind the district court's decision.

Certainly Ryspek was elected in Balykchy, and you could argue that the election was democratic (at least as Kyrgyzstan corrupt elections get). It is also reasonable that the Supreme Court should have the final say in the matter. Someone should.

But a democracy only works if the rule of law is upheld. Ryspek did not qualify to run under Kyrgyzstan election law. The role of the Supreme Court is not to decide which laws will be followed and which laws won't be followed. Its role is to make sure that constitutional laws are followed. There was no ruling the that residency requirement was unconstitutional or a bad law. They simply said that Ryspek can run. It's difficult to have confidence in the Supreme Court's decision when it appears to be illegal.

And that is why I do not think Ryspek is a democratically-elected leader.

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