BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov has signed into law a series of changes to the country’s electoral laws that include a reduction in the number of parliamentarians, the president’s press service announced on August 27.
The changes were included in a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments that were approved in April.
As a result of the changes to the electoral laws, the number of members in parliament -- the Jogorku Kenesh, or Supreme Council -- will be reduced from 120 to 90 seats. Of these, 54 seats will be elected through national party lists and the remaining 36 will be decided in individual district races.
The April 11 referendum came three months after Japarov was elected president following a tumultuous period that saw the ouster of the previous government amid protests over October parliamentary elections and months of political wrangling over the country's future.
Japarov proposed drafting a new constitution in November 2020 as he emerged from the turmoil as acting president in the wake of the resignation of then-President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.
He easily won the presidential election in January, while a referendum held in tandem saw voters opt for a presidential system that was the centerpiece of the proposed constitutional amendments.
Some in the former Soviet republic have criticized Japarov, saying the new constitution was being rushed through to create an authoritarian system while concentrating too much power in the hands of the president.
Japarov was among several prominent politicians freed from prison by protesters during the October unrest. He had been serving a 10-year prison sentence for hostage-taking during a protest against a mining operation in northeast Kyrgyzstan in October 2013.
He maintains the charges against him were politically motivated.