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Kyrgyz Party Leader Says Country Not Ready For Parliamentary Republic

Feliks Kulov addresses a preelection rally outside Bishkek on October 8.

Feliks Kulov addresses a preelection rally outside Bishkek on October 8.

BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Feliks Kulov, whose party finished third in this month's parliamentary elections, says the country is not yet ready to make the transition to a parliamentary republic, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kulov, the leader of the Ar-Namys (Dignity) party, told journalists in Bishkek today that although Kyrgyzstan's constitution did not provide for changing the current parliamentary republic, "public opinion and initiative might lead to such a revision."

He added that he planned to do everything in his power to reestablish a presidential republic.

A referendum on changing the country's political system from a presidential to a mixed system in which the prime minister has more powers than the president was approved overwhelmingly by voters in July.

But Kulov, 61, said that in the current political and social circumstances only the president should have the right to determine domestic and foreign policy, and only the president is capable of guaranteeing the real independence of the judicial system.

Kulov told RFE/RL's Russian Service on October 26 that Kyrgyzstan's current constitution provides the conditions for a very weak president, a not-so-strong prime minister, and a very strong parliament. He said he wanted to create a political system that would have a strong president, strong prime minister, and a strong parliament.

Kulov said in order to establish such a model, it was necessary to increase the president's powers.

Kulov's party and four others were elected to parliament in the October 10 elections. The final results of the ballot are to be announced later this week.

Kulov served briefly as prime minister in 2005-06 under then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev. He has also served as interior minister, national security minister, and mayor of Bishkek, the capital.