Kyrgyzstan moves forward date of referendum as it seeks to find original copy of constitution

By bne IntelliNews October 20, 2016

Kyrgyzstan moved forward to December 11 the date on which it will hold a referendum to change the constitution. At the same time, media reports suggest the original copy of the country’s 2010 constitution is nowhere to be found.

Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted to hold the referendum on December 11, a week later than initial plans. The changes seek to strengthen the powers of the prime minister against that of the presidency. Critics say the move is aimed at getting President Almazbek Atambayev into the prime minister’s post when his term ends, following the example of Russia's Vladimir Putin in 2008.

The Central Asian nation's constitution bars Atambayev from running for a second term when his mandate ends in 2017. 

Kyrgyz parliament, Jogorku Kenesh, is currently attempting to track down the location of the original document, 24.kg news agency reported on October 19, citing a parliament meeting. The constitution is meant to be kept in Kyrgyz president’s office, Minister of Justice Jyldyz Mambetaliyeva said. However, the representatives of the presidential office could not find any trace of the document.

Parliament members expressed concern that the Kyrgyz constitutional referendum cannot take place without the real copy in hand. “Before making changes, we need to find it. Otherwise, it is unclear where we are supposed to make the amendments,” lawmaker Aida Salyanova said during the meeting.

The missing paper raises the question how important can the constitution be to Kyrgyz authorities if they cannot find the original copy of the basic law.

Kyrgyzstan has had three constitutions since gaining independence: the original 1993 post-independence document, a constitution passed by referendum in 2007, and the present constitution passed by referendum in 2010.

 

 

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