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Otunbayeva inaugurated as Kyrgyz president

By the CNN Wire Staff
Roza Otunbayeva became interim leader after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April.
Roza Otunbayeva became interim leader after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The inauguration comes after multiethnic riots
  • June clashes killed hundreds of people
  • Otunbayeva is a former foreign minister

(CNN) -- Roza Otunbayeva was inaugurated as president of Kyrgyzstan on Saturday, becoming the first female head of state in central Asia, state media reported.

The inauguration comes after the multiethnic, landlocked nation saw an outbreak of riots in June that killed hundreds of people.

Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, declared herself the country's interim leader after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April.

She has also served as a United Nations representative and Kyrgyzstan's ambassador to the United States, United Kingdom and was once a Soviet official.

'Stalin's ethnic tinderbox alight'

Otunbayeva, 59, swore the presidential oath during the ceremony at the Great Hall of the National Philharmonics in the capital of Bishkek, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

Video: Ousted Kyrgyzstan leader speaks
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She was was officially declared the country's president for a transitional period until December 31, 2011, following a national referendum last weekend on a new Kyrgyz constitution, RIA-Novosti said.

More than 90 percent supported the new constitution, which converts Kyrgyzstan from a presidential to a parliamentary republic, and puts the 120-member parliament in charge of appointing the prime minister and government, the news agency said.

Otunbayeva will head the Kyrgyz government until the new Cabinet is appointed after parliamentary elections in October, it said.

Protests that started in April in the northern city of Talas led to governmental upheaval. They were sparked by increases in electricity and fuel rates, which had gone up at the first of the year as Bakiyev's government reportedly sold public utilities to companies controlled by his friends.

Demonstrations spread to Bishkek a day later after the government arrested opposition leaders in Talas. The protests in the capital became violent and prompted Bakiyev to flee the capital to southern Kyrgyzstan. He later fled the country.

 
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