BISHKEK. The American National Democratic Institute's (NDI) Bishkek office today distributed to the mass media a statement on Sunday's referendum in Kyrgyzstan. The NDI criticized several shortcomings in the preparation and organization of the plebiscite designed to approve a new version of the Kyrgyz Constitution and to agree on maintaining the current presidential term until the end, i.e. December 2005. The statement stressed that the sudden establishment of a team of experts to edit the draft constitutional changes and amendments and the short timing between the announcement of the referendum and the actual date of the referendum (about 20 days) were some of the major shortcomings. The new version strengthened presidential power at the expense of the legislative and jurisdictional branches, says the NDI. The NDI also criticized the activities of the executive branch during the referendum as an impediment against just plebiscite.
In the meantime, a leader of one of the pro-governmental NGOs, Toktayim Umetalieva told RFE/RL today that the NDI is interfering in the political life of Kyrgyzstan. Tolekan Ismailova, a leader of the NGO 'Civil Society Against Corruption', told RFE/RL that the Kyrgyz community has to thank the NDI and other international organizations for reminding the Kyrgyz Government on the fulfillment of its duties which were established through the voluntary signing of international human rights agreements on behalf of the Kyrgyz nation.