BISHKEK. Representatives of different political parties and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) of Kyrgyzstan gathered today in Bishkek. During the round table they discussed problems of the forthcoming referendum. Among the participants were the leaders of several opposition parties, such as the 'Arnamys' (Dignity), Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement, 'Erkindik' (Freedom), 'Erkin Kyrgyzstan' (Free Kyrgyzstan), 'Atameken' (Motherland), Communists and others. The leader of the Communists, MP Apsamat Masaliev called the draft version of the Constitution an attempt at a 'constitutional coup d'etat'. Most of the participants demanded Government to postpone the referendum until the current Parliament adopts a special Constitutional law on carrying out referendum. Some opposition members are appealing to the nation to boycott it.
RFE/RL Bishkek Bureau today conducted another round table with participation of the First deputy prime minister, Kurmanbek Osmonov and two prominent opposition MPs, Ishenbai Kadyrbekov and Omurbek Tekebayev. Osmonov backed the necessity of the referendum and he praised the Constitution's draft version proposed by the expert team on January 13. He criticized current Parliament as an ineffective body. He said that some times the deputies artificially delay adoption of the laws.
Kadyrbekov said that the main ideas based on democratic principles and agreed by the Government and opposition, were removed by the team of specialists without Constitutional Council's approval. Tekebayev stressed that President had agreed to give some of his powers to Prime Minister and Government, but, instead of that, President has strengthened his power.
Yesterday, Cholpon Bayekova, head of the Kyrgyz Constitutional Court, criticized the referendum, saying the proposed constitutional changes would deprive citizens, ombudsmen and lawmakers the right to appeal to the highest court, the Constitutional court.