BISHKEK. The Public Headquarters For Referendum Monitoring (PHRM), an opposition bloc set up to observe the election bodies' activities, will publish its results on Thursday, Feb 6. Head of the PHRM, the leader of the 'Atameken' (Motherland) Socialist Party and a lawmaker Omurbek Tekebayev, told journalists today that the Kyrgyz opposition considers Sunday's referendum illegal. According to the PHRM's alternate observation results, about 40 percent of eligible voters participated in the plebiscite.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced yesterday that about 86,38 percent of the voters had cast ballots. This is far more than the 50 percent required for a valid election. The commission said a preliminary count showed that more than 75 percent of the voters supported constitutional reforms to establish a unicameral legislature, among other changes. Kyrgyz citizens have also confirmed President Askar Akayev's stay in office until December 2005.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev announced the referendum 20 days before the plebiscite. He said that the constitutional reforms will strengthen Kyrgyz democracy. The opposition says the reforms will increase the powers of the president at the expense of parliament.
The U.S. State department, international human rights organizations and several local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have also criticized the referendum.