BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz Constitutional Court has rejected President Kurmanbek Bakiev's proposal for a still-to-be-created Presidential Council to appoint an interim president in emergencies, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Court Chairwoman Svetlana Sydykova said today that the Presidential Council would not be able to appoint an interim president because it is proposed to be an advisory body whose measures only enter into force after they are signed by the president.
The court asked for more information about the Presidential Council.
Sydykova said the court approved other amendments to the constitution proposed by Bakiev that will eliminate several government bodies, including the state secretary post and the Security Council.
The Kyrgyz opposition criticized the court ruling. It wants changes to the constitution to be put to a referendum and it believes Bakiev is making changes that would allow a relative or close associate of his to be named interim president.
According to Bakiev's proposal -- which was made in October as part of a package of reforms -- several new government institutions in addition to the Presidential Council will be formed.
Bakiev proposed that the Presidential Council -- to be made up of the president, his chief of staff, the parliament speaker, prime minister, and the head of the Central Development Agency, currently the president's son, Maksim Bakiev -- would have the power to appoint an interim president from among its staff if the president is ill or otherwise unable to perform his duties.
The constitution currently dictates that the parliament speaker and then the prime minister would become interim president in case the president is unable to serve.
Opposition Ata Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebaev told RFE/RL that Bakiev's reforms are aimed at "strengthening his personal power" and violate the constitution.
The President's Office said the amendments do not violate the law because, according to the constitution, the president can "form, eliminate, and restructure" subordinate state institutions.