A disputed parliamentary vote has sparked a fresh crisis in the volatile Central Asian country, triggering protests and unrest that have left at least one dead and hundreds injured.

Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbai Jeenbekov speaks after a vote at a parliamentary election in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, October 4, 2020.
Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbai Jeenbekov speaks after a vote at a parliamentary election in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, October 4, 2020. (Reuters)

Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov is "ready to resign" in a bid to end post-vote chaos enveloping the Central Asian country, he said in an address published on his website.

Jeenbekov said he could resign once a date for fresh elections had been set and changes in government had been confirmed by parliament and his office.

"After legitimate executive authorities are approved and we are back on the path of lawfulness, I am ready to leave the post of president of the Kyrgyz Republic," he said.

Jeenbekov had made no public appearances since the unrest broke out Monday and self-appointed law enforcement chiefs have said that they do not know where he is.

Opposition parties claim Sunday's election was rigged by massive vote-buying in favour of parties close to Jeenbekov.

The results of the vote were annulled on Tuesday, but that has done little to ease tensions, as rival politicians and their supporters press claims to leadership posts and state institutions are in chaos.

Clashes have already left at least one dead and hundreds wounded.

The crisis is the latest political turbulence to sweep through the volatile ex-Soviet state bordering China which has seen two revolutions and three of its presidents either jailed or sent into exile since independence.

Jeenbekov has called for a return to a rule of law but several lawmakers in parliament have said that there is no way to solve the growing impasse without his resignation or impeachment.

READ MORE: Kyrgyz opposition factions make rival power grabs after overthrowing govt

Rival opposition factions jostling for power

As of Thursday, candidates from self-styled opposition parties are claiming to control the state prosecutor's office, the national security committee, and the Interior Ministry.

Omurbek Suvanaliyev, who has claimed the title of national security chief in the aftermath of clashes between police and protesters, told Russian news agency Interfax that the government had ordered national borders closed.

"For security reasons, a decision was taken to close the borders," said Suvanaliyev. The border service confirmed to AFP that the order had taken effect.

Suvanaliyev is one of several politicians who claimed titles after a rally against the vote results turned violent and protesters seized the main seat of government.

But on Thursday he appeared to emerge as an important player when Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed he had held talks with the head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).

READ MORE: Kyrgyzstan election results declared invalid after mass protests

Russia: Kyrgyzstan is 'in chaos'

Jeenbekov is believed to enjoy the support of key ally Russia, which has called for a return to stability in the republic and beefed up security at a military base it maintains not far from the capital.

Jeenbekov has ruled Kyrgyzstan since 2017.

Peskov told reporters in Moscow that Russia was "deeply concerned" about a "situation resembling a mess and chaos". 

But he said it was premature to discuss whether Jeenbekov should be offered refuge in Russia.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan's central bank allowed financial institutions to reopen on Thursday after their closure on Tuesday, as business associations warned the nation of 6.5 million could face food shortages if banks and tax offices remained shut and public safety could not be guaranteed.

READ MORE: Why are people in Kyrgyzstan protesting?

PM position contested 

Confrontations between groups of supporters in Bishkek have continued as rival groups contest the prime minister position.

Sadyr Japarov, a populist politician claimed the position on Tuesday following an extraordinary session of parliament, as hundreds of his supporters flooded into the capital.

But at least two other groups – one consisting of several losing parties – have since put forward their own candidates for the post.

A parliamentary press spokesman told AFP news agency that "around 70 lawmakers" – a majority of the parliament, had voted for Japarov as prime minister. 

Many observers have cast doubt over the legitimacy of the vote, which took place in a three-star hotel.

Japarov, a headstrong nationalist known for his opposition to the company operating Kyrgyzstan's largest gold mine, was freed from jail by protesters during a tumultuous night of unrest on Monday that also saw former president Almazbek Atambayev released.

His supporters attempted to enter the building housing the prime minister's on office Wednesday night, but its doors were guarded by a 500-strong voluntary defence unit, who formed a human chain until the supporters dispersed, an eyewitness told AFP.

Covid-19 risk

Politically neutral voluntary defence units also control the building where Jeenbekov's administration and the parliament are housed, which was seized by protesters in the early hours of Tuesday.

It was not clear whether Jeenbekov had signed off on the Tuesday resignation of outgoing prime minister Kubatbek Boronov or Japarov's candidacy.

Other ministers however appeared to remain in their position as they held an online meeting to discuss rising coronavirus cases amid other items of government.

Health Minister Sabyrzhan Abdykarimov warned at a press conference that the proliferation of rallies – many involving citizens who arrived from the provinces – could cause a spike in new cases and called on citizens to wear masks and observe the distance.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies