BISHKEK. The nationwide debate on proposed amendments to Kyrgyzstan's Constitution finished today ahead of a national referendum to approve those changes. First Deputy Prime Minister Kurmanbek Osmonov told a press conference the referendum would likely be held at the end of this month or early next month. A team of specialists expects to have a draft copy of the amendments ready by January 13. The text would then go to President Askar Akayev for review.
Then opposition has complained that neither the parliament nor Constitutional Council will review the document. Deputy chairman of the Constitutional Council, MP Omurbek Tekebaev said that permission to an expert team to wrap-up the last version of the draft is a big mistake. The representatives of the establishment will prepare a draft which would be in the interests of only the executive branch of power, said Tekebaev. Even pro-government members of the Constitutional Council have reservations about giving the latest version of the draft to a few experts for further review. The leader of the Communist Party, MP Apsamat Masaliev said that the process of draft preparation does not need any expert team.
Among the proposed changes are returning the parliament to a unicameral body instead of the current bicameral parliament and granting parliament more powers.
As with previous referenda in Kyrgyzstan, voters will not be able to approve individual amendments but must vote either "yes" or "no" to the entire package of changes.