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Interim Kyrgyz President On Constitutional Reform

Interim President Kurmanbek Bakiev Bishkek, 27 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Interim President Kurmanbek Bakiev said today in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL that he supports constitutional reform in Kyrgyzstan, but added that he believes the branches of power need more authority if such reforms are to be implemented.

"The power of the president elected nationwide has to be greater, because he is elected by the entire Kyrgyzstan nation," Bakiev said. "At the same time, the president...should have his [proper] responsibilities as well. For instance, the existing constitution does not contain [responsibilities for the president]."

Bakiev said that all the branches of power [executive, legislative, and judicial] must be equal. He said it is not good to give too much power to the presidency.

Bakiev, responding to questions regarding the negatives and benefits of former President Askar Akaev's activities, said Akaev was an effective president until 1997. Bakiev said Akaev contributed to Kyrgyzstan's efforts to develop a market economy and to democratic reforms, but eventually most government declarations were in word only and were never carried out and the country became more and more authoritarian.

Bakiev said that former President Akaev should not escape from his country. Bakiev also stressed that mass media outlets are now free to cover all the events in Kyrgyzstan. He said there is no order from his government to censor state owned media outlets.

Bakiev also criticized the current parliament for what he characterized as heavily politicized activities. He urged the parliament to work together with the interim government.

Bakiev said that the events in Kyrgyzstan on 24 March were the result of a people's revolution, and that there was no contribution or influence from abroad, including the United States or Russia.

(Interview conducted by RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service stringer Kyias Moldokasymov in Bishkek)

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