Kyrgyz parliament refuses to debate calls to oust the prime minister

Speaker Omurbek Tekebayev said parliament could hold a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Felix Kulov's government, but only when Kulov presents an annual report. The president would then have the final say on whether to dismiss the prime minister.Outside parliament about 300 protesters, led by the brother of a slain Kyrgyz legislator, rallied for a fourth day, demanding that Kulov be removed as head of the ex-Soviet nation's government and accusing him of involvement in the killing.

Lawmaker Tynychbek Akmatbayev was killed Thursday during a visit to a prison near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. His brother, Ryspek, is to stand trial later this week on charges of murder of a senior police official, and Kulov's supporters have accused him of leading the protests to pressure authorities before the trial.

The protesters - chanting "Kulov must go!" - set up seven traditional Kyrgyz tents, or yurts, along with half a dozen regular tents outside the parliament building in Bishkek. Signs accusing Kulov of allegedly being involved in the murder were posted on the building's columns.

Nearby, about 150 Kulov's supporters held a counter-demonstration backing him, the AP reports.

Legislators decided Thursday to set up a parliamentary commission to investigate Akmatbayev's murder. They were meeting late Tuesday with President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to discuss the situation in the country. Bakiyev called for patience, and said the demonstrators' demand that Kulov resign was too harsh.

The protest underlines the political tensions that persist in Kyrgyzstan in the wake of this year's uprising, which drove longtime President Askar Akayev into exile.

Bakiyev gave Kulov the prime minister's job as part of a deal that secured his victory in July's presidential election. Kyrgyz politics are marked by intense regional loyalties, and the presence of Kulov, a northerner, is of strong importance to Bakiyev, who comes from the south. A.M.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team