Wednesday, 11 September 2002

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS INITIATED IN KYRGYZSTAN

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By Anna Kirey (9/11/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Kyrgyzstan's President has recently given in to some of the demands by the opposition and has accepted to create a constitutional council to discuss constitutional amendments. Whether this move will help to allay political instability remains unclear, as unrest in the South of the country due to the killings in Aksy goes on, and at least one opposition member has refused to participate in the new council.

After tragic events in Aksy, picketings all over Kyrgyzstan and the establishment of the new political bloc "For impeachment of Akaev and people's reforms", Askar Akaev finally decided to accept the points of view of the opposition and come to a compromise taking into account all their demands.

Kyrgyzstan's President has recently given in to some of the demands by the opposition and has accepted to create a constitutional council to discuss constitutional amendments. Whether this move will help to allay political instability remains unclear, as unrest in the South of the country due to the killings in Aksy goes on, and at least one opposition member has refused to participate in the new council.

After tragic events in Aksy, picketings all over Kyrgyzstan and the establishment of the new political bloc "For impeachment of Akaev and people's reforms", Askar Akaev finally decided to accept the points of view of the opposition and come to a compromise taking into account all their demands. He signed a decree about preparations to constitutional reforms and chose representatives from various parties and non-governmental organizations to take part in a constitutional council, a new legislative body which was established through decree. The main opposition figures included in the list are Adahan Madumarov, representative of the parliamentary group "Kyrgyzstan", Emil Aliev, representative of "Ar Namys" party, Melis Eshimkanov representative of people's party "Beibecharalar", Tusunbay Bakir uulu, leader of "Erk" party. There are also representatives of the "Coalition of NGOs for democracy and civil society", "Civil society against corruption" and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. So far Tursunbay Bakir uulu was the only person who refused to take part in the constitutional council.

At the same time, 300 people from the South of Kyrgyzstan started off in a march to Bishkek. Inhabitants of the Aksy region announced in July that they would march to Bishkek if those officials responsible for the Aksy killing of six picketers earlier in the year were not tried and punished. Human rights activist Tursunbek Akunov managed to escape custody and was interviewed in Bishkek about the march in Aksy. He considers spreading the word about the march as his duty and could have been arrested for organizing the march.

President Akaev in his turn announced in a televised speech about his decision to take active steps towards  Kyrgyzstan becoming a "land of human rights", as he claimed it to be in May. In the speech, he acknowledged that the executive power made mistakes and did not fulfill the needs and demands of its people. As a democrat, as he states, he has to initiate changes to the Constitution and include a diversity  of opinions and drafts into it. However, Akaev does not personally support the creation of a Parliamentary republic, but is inclined to listen to all the proposals of the opposition about the possible weakening of the executive power.

Anna Kirey

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The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.

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