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Kyrgyz Leaders Discuss Constitutional Changes

Almaz Atambaev (file photo) (AFP) BISHKEK, April 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almaz Atambaev has met with opposition and moderate lawmakers to discuss changes to the country's constitution, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

The chairman of parliament's Constitutional Law Committee, Iskhak Masaliev, was at the meeting, which took place late on April 16. Masaliev told RFE/RL that President Kurmanbek Bakiev was ready to accept a new draft of the constitution and rescind a version he has already sent to parliament for approval.

Atambaev "informed us that the president had told him that if we agreed on a joint single draft, then, even though it would be tough for the president himself, but if he finds it acceptable, then he would revoke the draft law that he already sent to the parliament, in order to amend it and to send back again," Masaliev said.

Constitutional reforms are one of the demands being made by opposition groups.

Opposition groups on April 16 held a sixth day of protests outside the government building in Bishkek that drew some 6,000 people to demand reforms and Bakiev's resignation.

Turmoil In Kyrgyzstan

Turmoil In Kyrgyzstan

Opposition protests in Bishkek on April 11 (TASS)

TAKING TO THE STREETS. Edil Baisalov, president of the largest grassroots network in Kyrgyzstan, discussed the political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan at an RFE/RL briefing in Washington. He addressed the question of whether the unrest is a healthy democratic process or a bid to derail the country's fragile democratic transition.


Listen to the entire briefing (about 70 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


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RFE/RL's coverage of Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz-language website of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service.


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