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Kyrgyz Constitutional Referendum Still Planned, Despite Unrest

Otunbaeva visiting wounded residents in a hospital in the city of Osh following ethnic clashes in that southern city.
Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Roza Otunbaeva says authorities are still planning to go ahead with a planned referendum on a new constitution on June 27, despite hundreds of thousands of displaced residents and continuing security concerns linked to the deadly clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks.

Speaking on June 21 on a visit to Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan, in the region of the unrest, Otunbaeva said any delays in holding the referendum could lead to more instability.

The constitutional referendum was scheduled following the ouster in an April revolt of former President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

This month's ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan have left more than 200 people confirmed dead and led to some 400,000 people fleeing their homes, with tens of thousands crossing into neighboring Uzbekistan. Otunbaeva has said she believes the final death toll could hit 2,000.

Interim authorities have blamed Bakiev for being behind the clashes. He has denied any involvement.

compiled from agency reports