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Kyrgyz Parliament Approves New Government Structure

Kyrgyz parliament in session (file photo) (RFE/RL) February 6, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The Kyrgyz parliament today approved a new structure for the government, although not all of Prime Minister Azim Isabekov's proposals were accepted.

The new government structure approved by parliament has 14 ministries -- two more than the last government -- five committees, and 12 state agencies. But some issues remain unclear, and though the proposal passed, some deputies were quick to point out some unresolved issues.

Clear Approval

The new government proposal passed easily. Deputy parliamentary speaker Kubanychbek Isabekov (no relation to the prime minister) announced the results of the vote, with 57 in favor.

One vote was unclear and was not counted. The other deputies were not present at the session. There are 75 seats in the unicameral Kyrgyz parliament, although some of the seats remain unfilled.

Isabekov thanked deputies for their suggestions during the debate about the new government structure and for their approval of the proposal.

But Isabekov did not get everything he wanted. His proposal to add another deputy prime minister and to create a Presidium faced stiff opposition, and he dropped those proposals on February 5 when debate on the new government structure opened.

The Presidium was proposed as a body made up of the three deputy prime ministers, the prime minister, and some government members that would have had the power to make decisions on behalf of the government.

Questions Remain

Some deputies still have questions about the new government structure. Opposition lawmaker Omurbek Tekebaev said President Kurmanbek Bakiev still apparently oversees some departments that, according to the constitution, are the responsibility of the legislative branch, not the executive branch of government.

"The president can fulfill only those powers defined by the constitution and not more," Tekebaev said. "But we have given him also a social fund, a National Statistics Committee, and many other small departments -- hunting and other similar [agencies]. But these should be departments within the government. I have expressed my wishes to the government."

Deputy Osmonbek Artykbaev also questioned why some departments seem to fall under the president and not the prime minister. "For instance, the Border Service. According to the constitution, the government is in charge of the border issues, of financing and investing in it," he said. "But it was made as a central organ [of the executive branch]. Or investment issues, it's an economic issue, and directly relates to government activity. It's not the president's responsibility, it shouldn't be a part of the central organ."

Part of the problem with interpreting the new government structure is that Kyrgyzstan approved an amended constitution in late December. Those amendments changed the constitution that was agreed upon during massive demonstrations in Bishkek in early November that initially took away some presidential powers and gave them to the legislative branch. Deputies and some others are still trying to decipher the document to figure out which responsibilities belong to which branch of government.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service contributed to this report.)

Understanding Kyrgyzstan

Understanding Kyrgyzstan

Workers preparing for celebrations of the constitutional compromise in Bishkek on November 9 (RFE/RL)

A STABLE FOUNDATION? On November 9, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a briefing featuring RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service Director Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev and RFE/RL analyst Daniel Kimmage.


Listen to the complete discussion (about 80 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


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Photo Gallery Of November 9 Protests