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Tuesday 13 April 2021

West Unhappy with Changes to Kyrgyz Constitution

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MOSCOW (Nezavisimaya Gazeta) — On April 11, Kyrgyzstan held a referendum on its new draft constitution. With a turnout of 30%, the plebiscite was declared valid. Consequently, the Central Asian country is returning to a presidential form of government, and the head of state, Sadyr Japarov, is going to get unlimited powers, writes.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazetathe country’s regions supported their leader, while the U.S., the EU, and international organizations sounded off their dissatisfaction over the results.

The preparations for the referendum, as well as the draft of the Basic Law itself, were repeatedly criticized both within the country and overseas. Now, the country’s president will lead not only the executive branch, but will also have the right to initiate legislation. At the same time, the number of parliament members will be reduced from 120 to 90 lawmakers. Brussels and Washington criticized the new constitution, which, in their opinion contradicts democratic norms.

Dmitry Orlov, director general at Strategy East-West LLC, a Kyrgyz analytical centre, does not see it as a problem that the Kyrgyz Constitution was discussed in Europe and the United States, because “this is quite normal”. “The problem here is different — there are already signs of outside control in the country. The Kyrgyz authorities are being told that they must coordinate their actions with the US and UK ambassadors”, Orlov told the newspaper.

“Japarov will not be able to bolster the country in a short time for a number of reasons. And the main one is the complete de-industrialization of Kyrgyzstan. There are no jobs in the country […] Moreover, many neighbours are very wary of the newly elected president, knowing his past. And this will not stimulate Kyrgyzstan either. Therefore, the more Japarov tries to build authoritarianism, the sooner it will all end”, Director of the Agency for Ethno-National Strategies Aleksandr Kobrinsky told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Political analyst Mars Sariev told the newspaper that geopolitical actors are unhappy with the ongoing processes in the country and will seek to retaliate. But any internal destabilisation will most likely be postponed until the autumn, as parliamentary elections are due in September.

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