Kyrgyzstan votes to increase government's powers – early results

Kyrgyzstan votes to increase government's powers – early results

Kyrgyzstan voted in favour of constitutional changes boosting the power of its government, its election commission said yesterday, citing preliminary results of a national referendum.

 

The commission said that with most ballots counted, about 80% of voters had supported the package of amendments proposed by allies of President Almazbek Atambayev. Voter turnout was about 42%, The Guardian reports.

 

The amendments include provisions granting more powers to the prime minister and the government, which is dominated by members of Atambayev’s Social Democratic party.

 

Some of his critics have accused him of planning to become prime minister after stepping down as president when his term ends next year. Atambayev, 60, has denied having such plans.

 

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe said in a joint comment in August that the proposed amendments would shift the balance of power by strengthening the executive at the expense of parliament and the judiciary.

 

The statement said other amendments could weaken the former Soviet republic’s commitment to international treaties on human rights and freedoms.

 

Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished central Asian country of 6 million people, has been volatile in recent years, with violent protests in 2005 and 2010 which toppled successive presidents.

 

Atambayev’s move to amend the constitution after the 2010 protests has alienated some of his former allies. If the conflict between him and the opposition deepens after the referendum result, it could destabilise the country, which hosts a Russian military base.