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Kyrgyz lawmakers vote to amend constitution, strengthen president's powers

Kyrgyz lawmakers vote to amend constitution, strengthen president's powers

Kyrgyz lawmakers passed constitutional amendments strengthening the president's powers in a quick vote Saturday following President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's threat to dissolve Parliament.
The amendments, which give Bakiyev the right to appoint the Cabinet, were backed by 50 lawmakers, with one abstention, in the 75-member legislature. The remaining lawmakers were absent.
The vote was held after Bakiyev told lawmakers that he would call a Security Council meeting later Saturday "to decide the fate of Parliament."
Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian nation of 5 million people, has been gripped by political infighting since the March 2005 ouster of longtime ruler Askar Akayev.
The constitutional amendments, which Bakiyev failed to pass earlier in the week, are the second set of changes to the Constitution in as many months. In November, protests forced Bakiyev to sign amendments curtailing his powers.
Parliament had been under pressure to return to Bakiyev the authority to form a Cabinet since Prime Minister Felix Kulov resigned last week, claiming that the November changes made it impossible for the government and Parliament to work together, and calling for new parliamentary elections.
Bakiyev said Saturday that the November amendments "turned out to be rushed and created contradictions."
"We thought that with new expanded powers Parliament would be more efficient, but it is yet to pass next year's budget and a set of new economic laws," he said.
The opposition For Reforms alliance on Saturday said the new constitutional changes were illegal because they weren't approved by the Constitutional Court, which validates all constitutional amendments.
"We call on all citizens not to recognize the amended Constitution," said the alliance's deputy leader, Temir Sariyev.
The U.S. maintains a military base in Kyrgyzstan _ the only such outpost in former Soviet Central Asia _ to back up anti-terror operations in Afghanistan. Russia, which has strong influences on impoverished Kyrgyzstan, also has an air base in the country.


Updated : 2021-04-13 04:37 GMT+08:00