BISHKEK. The Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan announced today the official results of the referendum held last Sunday, Feb 2. According to the Commission, there are 2,465,684 eligible voters in the country. About 86,68 percent of them cast their ballots. The first question - the adoption of a new version of the Kyrgyz Constitution - was backed by 86,68 percent of the eligible voters. About 9 percent of them said 'No'. The second question regarding President Akayev's maintenance of his position until December 2005, was supported by 78,74 percent of the eligible voters, and about 7,07 percent were against the proposal.
Yesterday, President Askar Akayev had given a speech by state TV, hailing the referendum as a great achievement of Kyrgyz democracy. He also harshly criticized his opposition:
"I evaluate the results of the referendum as a clear stand of the nation against the opposition forces which aimed at political destabilization, at disrupting the referendum or declaring it illegal. The electorate said 'No' to the forces that were harming the national unity and concord."
In the meantime, Kyrgyz opposition is continuing its rejection of the official results of the referendum. The Public Headquarters for Referendum Monitoring (PHRM) today held a press conference. Its speakers said that the PHRM will appeal to the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan, the OSCE, U.S. Government and international human rights organizations about the irregularities which took place before and during the plebiscite. They consider the referendum illegal, because they think there were actually about 40 percent of the eligible voters who participated in the voting.
Feliks Kulov, the jailed leader of the 'Arnamys' (Dignity) Party and former vice-president, told AKI-press agency that the Government fulfilled a task ordered by the President before the plebiscite. Kulov doubts attempts to find out the truth after the plebiscite which officially gave what the President had wanted.