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Opposition Says Second Round Of Bishkek Talks Fails

President Bakiev (right) with Prime Minister Feliks Kulov (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) October 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports that a second round of talks between President Kurmanbek Bakiev and his opponents has broken down in the capital, Bishkek.

The negotiations were aimed at reducing tensions over stalled constitutional reforms ahead of street protests scheduled for November 2.

For Reforms opposition movement leader Omurbek Tekebaev told RFE/RL after the second round of negotiations that they proved inconclusive.

"We didn't reach any results," Tekebaev said. "The current leadership is not ready to accept most of the demands put forward by the For Reforms movement; this is why we will maintain them. We call on all our supporters to come and join the protest rally that will take place on Bishkek's central square on November 2. We are ready to support our [main] demand, which is that the leading tandem (of Bakiev and Prime Minister Feliks Kulov) should implement reforms or resign."

Another participant, lawmaker Melis Eshimkanov, said Bakiev agreed to some of the demands made by the opposition. He said the president appeared ready to back a new draft constitution that would give more powers to the parliament.

The opposition is pressing Bakiev to implement a string of reforms he promised during his election campaign in 2005, months after a public uprising ousted long-time President Askar Akaev.

Those planned reforms include curtailing the president's prerogatives and transforming Kyrgyzstan's state-controlled television into a public broadcaster.

A handful of proposals have been offered at various times by a number of sides, and reportedly range from relatively minor changes to a constitutional overhaul.

The first round of talks yielded an agreement to form a joint working group to seek consensus on reforms, including possibly drafting a new constitution.

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