BISHKEK. Central Electoral Commission of Kyrgyzstan (CEC) today reminded the Kyrgyz electorate that it is illegal to carry on propaganda during a referendum set for Sunday, February 2003. CEC says that clause 4 of the law on Referendum prohibits any agitation about the referendum agenda during the day of plebiscite. On Sunday about 2081 constituencies inside of country and 24 more of them abroad, will open doors for more than 2.5 million Kyrgyz voters.
Kyrgyz Government says the referendum is an important part of the ongoing democratic processes in the country. There are two issues on the agenda: an adoption of a new version of the post-Soviet Kyrgyz Constitution and giving consent to the current President, Askar Akayev, to maintain his power until December, 2005. Yesterday, the Kyrgyz electoral authorities rejected the Western criticism on short timing of the Referendum for nation-wide debate, saying that setting date for any political action, including a plebiscite, is an internal political matter of the sovereign country.
Meanwhile, a representative of the Public Headquarters For Referendum, and a deputy leader of the ‘Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement Party, Jypar Jekshe, told journalists today that the local authorities of the Aksy district of the Jalalabad region said to the representatives of the headquarters that they won’t allow them to observe the referendum procedures. Chief of the Aksy district’s electoral commission, Ergeshaaly Ozokeev told RFE/RL today that the opposition observers did not provide them the appropriate documents for monitoring.
Yesterday, police of the Lenin district in the capital city Bishkek detained two adults and one teenager on the spot, when they allegedly were distributing the anti-referendum leaflets, appealing to voters boycott the referendum. The Public Headquarters For the Referendum today criticized the authorities, saying that the detainees did not do any illegal activities and distribution of information is one of the main constitutional rights of the citizen.