BISHKEK. President Askar Akayev signed a decree on changes to the draft law on the new version of the Constitution to be adopted by the forthcoming referendum. A disputed draft clause giving the President the right of absolute veto was omitted. Also, the citizens' right to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court has been restored in the text. The third main change is the reintroduction of a clause protecting the freedom of press as part of citizens' universal rights in the Constitution.
The Kyrgyz opposition has been severely criticizing the shortcomings of the draft. Some NGOs welcomed the latest move by the Government.