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Kyrgyzstan president seeks constitutional referendum on parliamentary elections

[JURIST] Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev [BBC profile] Wednesday called for a national referendum on amending the Kyrgyzstan constitution [constitutional materials, in Kyrgyz] to elect parliament members by party list rather than by direct election, saying such a change would help defeat a "constitutional deadlock." Critics say the change would hurt smaller parties and independent politicians in Kyrgyzstan [JURIST news archive], and is designed to bolster Bakiyev's own position. Bakiyev's proposal comes on the heels of constitutional changes approved by parliament late last year that first curtailed [JURIST report] and then restored [JURIST report] Bakiyev's presidential power, after Bakiyev threatened to dissolve parliament. The Constitutional Court later threw out the amendments, holding that they were approved under pressure.

Kyrgyzstan has been in political turmoil, with the Kyrgyz constitution being amended numerous times, since former president Askar Akayev [BBC profile] was ousted [JURIST report] during the so-called Tulip Revolution [Wikipedia backgrounder] of 2005. The newly proposed amendment will be voted on in late October. AP has more.

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