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Kyrgyz President Threatens Parliament With Referendum

Bakiev before parliament in September (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, October 26, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has hinted at the possibility of putting the fate of parliament in the balance if no agreement on a proposed constitutional reform is reached soon.

Bakiev reportedly told residents of the southern Jalal-Abad region on October 25 that if lawmakers and himself do not reach a consensus on that issue by November 20, he will call for a referendum in December that may also include "the question of parliament itself."

A statement on the presidential office's website quotes Bakiev as saying he hopes he will not have to resort to a referendum to solve the current political standoff.

Lawmakers accuse Bakiev of dragging his feet over preelection pledges he made to amend the constitution in a way that would curtail the president's powers.

The opposition has called for an open-ended protest rally on November 2 in a bid to force Bakiev to meet his promises.

(with AKIpress)