Newly elected Kyrgyz president Sadyr Japarov on Monday defended new constitutional reforms passed on March 11 that would grant broad powers to the executive branch. The amendments would also allow the president to hold office for multiple terms instead of the current one-year term provided by the constitution.
In a recent statement to RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, Japarov praised the reforms, saying that new laws will “establish order” in Kyrgyzstan after nearly a decade of trying an experimental hybrid system of government in which the parliament and president shared powers. “I think that this constitution will … bring the country forward. I believe this constitution will establish order in the country,” Japarov told reporters.
The proposed amendments would create an assembly—called the People’s Kurultai—that would consult exclusively with the president. The new constitution would also create a Constitutional Court composed of 90 members instead of the current 120.
Activists have criticized the new laws for imposing an authoritarian government structure that further deprives citizens of their constitutional rights and fear that it will erode the current system of checks and balances. Human Rights Watch Central Asia researcher Syinat Sultanalieva said of the draft constitution: “The current draft constitution does not reflect the high human rights standards Kyrgyzstan says it aspires to. Kyrgyzstan should take the time it needs to prepare a constitution that protects the rights of everyone in a way that complies with international human rights standards.”
The reforms are set to pass and take effect on April 11, 2021.