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Kyrgyz Government Publishes New Draft Constitution


Roza Otunbaeva
Roza Otunbaeva
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's interim government today made public the country's new draft constitution, which shifts power from the president to the prime minister, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The draft constitution as posted (in Kyrgyz and Russian) defines Kyrgyzstan as a secular state and allows a person to serve only once as president. The proposed presidential term is for six years. The president would not have full immunity but could be prosecuted for abuse or crimes while in office.

The constitution was created by a 75-member Constitutional Committee that was made up largely of representatives from nongovernmental organizations. The committee was also advised by several international organizations.

The presidential post would also be invested with fewer powers than the office currently has, with most of the lost prerogatives being transferred to the prime minister.

The interim government has called for parliamentary elections to be held on October 10, after which a prime minister and new government would be installed.

The new constitution also preserves the current status of Russian as the second official language in Kyrgyzstan.

A nationwide referendum on the draft constitution will be held on June 27. Kyrgyz voters will also be asked on that day to approve current interim government leader Roza Otunbaeva as interim president until December 2011.

Otunbaeva officially quit the Social Democratic Party on May 21, one day after the interim government issued a decree saying that the interim president cannot be a member of any political party.

Otunbaeva was the leader of the Social Democratic faction in parliament until the mass antigovernment protests in Bishkek that toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiev and the country's government on April 7.