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Kyrgyzstan's Public Chamber Holds First Session


* Correction appended

BISHKEK -- A presidentially sanctioned forum established to boost dialogue between the government and the public has convened in the Kyrgyz capital for its inaugural session, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The composition of the 45-member Kyrgyz Public Chamber (Ordo Kengesh) was approved by President Kurmanbek Bakiev in January.

Jumakadyr Akeneev, an economist and former minister, told RFE/RL that the semiofficial body would offer advice to government bodies in accordance with people's wishes.

But Dinara Oshurakhunova, who leads the NGO Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, compared the Public Chamber to similar bodies formed during the administration of Askar Akaev, who was ousted in the 2005 Tulip Revolution.

Oshurakhunova said the chamber comprises primarily "honored elderly in duty" and will be an obstacle for the government to reach a wider audience.

Kubanychbek Syidanov, a former head of the Chui regional administration, was elected to serve as chamber chairman.

Bakiev, who has been accused by former allies of abandoning the ideals of the Tulip Revolution, has already indicated that he will seek another term as president.

* The original version of this story called the new body the Public Council. "Public Chamber" is a more accurate translation of "Ordo Kengesh."
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