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Bakiev Suggests Scrapping Prime Minister Post

President Bakiev (RFE/RL) Bishkek, 5 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev today proposed that the prime minister position be abolished in the future and the president become head of the government.

Bakiev made the remark at today's meeting of the constitutional council, the body preparing the first draft of the amendments to the Kyrgyz Constitution.

Bakiev proposed scrapping the prime minister post in 2010 (after the current term of the presidency expires) and establishing a vice presidential position.

Bakiev explained why he would wait until 2010: "If [Kyrgyzstan's] president would chair the government himself, and he would be also responsible for economy, it would be right. However, you know that together with the current prime minister Feliks Sharshenbayevich [Kulov], we have established a union, a tandem after the 24 March [Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan]. If I would propose [uniting both positions of president and prime minister] right now, then some people might say 'Now he is trying to get rid of Kulov.'"

Bakiev also criticized a current provision which, Bakiev says, treats the president as "a god" and does not hold him responsible for his actions.

Bakiev said that in future some parliament seats should be elected on party lists. The party-list system was eliminated during Askar Akaev's regime, after the February 2003 constitutional referendum.

The council will have another meeting on 10 November and then the draft amendments will be published in the local press. A nationwide debate of it will be held by 25 December and then it will be wrapped-up by the constitutional council.

The ongoing effort to reform the constitution is one of the main challenges to strengthen democratic institutions in Kyrgyzstan.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)