Voters in Kyrgyzstan approved an expansion of president Sadyr Japarov’s powers in a referendum that took place on Sunday. The referendum addressed constitutional amendments proposed by Japarov that would increase presidential powers, create an assembly controlled by the president, and reduce the size of the parliament from 180 members to 90.
Japarov, who last year was serving a prison sentence for kidnapping a regional governor, came to power amid violent demonstrations over contested parliamentary election results.
Japarov recently issued a statement on the constitutional amendments contained in the referendum:
This draft Constitution was developed by us ourselves with the participation of aksakals, academicians, doctors of law. Everything was openly discussed with the people, broadcast was conducted live. If the people support, then we will start living from tomorrow according to the new Constitution. I urge voters to be more active. Everyone decides how to vote, no one is forcing anyone.
Under the country’s laws, a referendum may only pass with a voter turnout of at least 30 percent. Figures for Sunday’s vote show that 36.7 percent of eligible voters participated.