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Kyrgyz President Signs Constitutional Amendments

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Opponents of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev suspect one of the amendments is designed to pave the way for him to stay in power after his seven-year term ends in the autumn.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has signed constitutional amendments into law after they were adopted in a referendum in December.

Lawmakers, cabinet members, and the Supreme Court chairwoman attended the signing ceremony in Bishkek on January 27.

The 26 amendments approved in the December 11 referendum included changes shifting key powers from the president to the prime minister and effectively outlawing same-sex marriage in the mostly Muslim former Soviet republic.

The latter change has been criticized by opponents of Atambaev, who suspect it is designed to pave the way for him to stay in power after his seven-year term ends following an election in autumn 2017.

Kyrgyzstan's current constitution was adopted in June 2010 after mass protests toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiev. A clause in the 2010 constitution prohibited making amendments to the text before 2020.

Kyrgyzstan is the only country in Central Asia in which the president is limited to a single term.

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