WELCOME TO IWPR'S REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA, No. 478 Part 1, 17 January, 2006

YET ANOTHER CONSTITUTION FOR KYRGYZSTAN  The balance of power as set out in the 
constitution appears to have swung back towards President Bakiev.  By Cholpon 
Orozobekova in Bishkek 


winners as well as the awards ceremony held in London please go to: 

IWPR LAUNCHES CENTRAL ASIAN NEWS AGENCY: News Briefing Central Asia is a new 
concept in regional reporting, comprising analysis and “news behind the news” 
in Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Available at: 

**** www.iwpr.net 

REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA RSS: http://www.iwpr.net/en/rca/rss.xml 

TURKMEN RADIO: INSIDE VIEW is an IWPR radio training and broadcast project for 
Turkmenistan. View at: http://www.iwpr.net/?p=trk&s=p&o=-&apc_state=henh 

RECEIVE FROM IWPR: Readers are urged to subscribe to IWPR's full range of free 
electronic publications at: 

GIVE TO IWPR: IWPR is wholly dependent upon grants and donations. For more 
information about how you can support IWPR go to: 

**** www.iwpr.net 


The balance of power as set out in the constitution appears to have swung back 
towards President Bakiev.

By Cholpon Orozobekova in Bishkek 

Two months after a compromise constitution ended the tense standoff between 
Kyrgyzstan’s government and its opponents, parliament has passed an amended 
version handing back significant powers to President Kurmanbek Bakiev. 

On January 15, the president signed off on the latest version of the 
constitution, passed by legislators on December 30. The document reverses 
several changes made in the November constitution, so that the president 
regains his authority to name a prime minister and also to make appointments to 
the powerful post of regional governor.  

Many deputies were clearly unhappy at passing a second set of revisions so 
soon, but felt they had no option as Bakiev had put a gun to their heads by 
threatening to dissolve parliament unless they accepted his terms.

Omurbek Abdrakhmanov, coordinator of the opposition Movement For Reforms, told 
a press conference later that Bakiev had “behaved like the boss of a collective 

“It was unethical of him to threaten the deputies with dissolution,” he added.

The constitution which pro-opposition and pro-government deputies hammered out 
in November curtailed the Kyrgyz president’s powers by allowing the winning 
party to pick a prime minister and cabinet. 

The argument Bakiev made at the December 30 parliamentary session was that the 
document was drafted too hastily and needed further revision.

After the president signed that document into law on November 9, the initial 
arrangement was that both the government and the parliament would remain in 
place for the time being. This was done in the interests of stability, since 
the constitution envisages a larger parliament elected differently from the old 
one, with the government formed by the winning party rather than the president. 
A change to either body, neither of which matches the prescriptions laid out in 
the constitution, would thus have major implications for the other.

But the December 19 resignation of Prime Minister Felix Kulov and his cabinet 
precipitated renewed crisis, raising questions about whether the new 
constitutional arrangements could be made to work with the present legislature 
still in situ, or whether a fresh general election was called for.

Commenting on Bakiev’s motives for seeking to reverse this change, member of 
parliament Temirbek Sariev said the president had decided that on reflection, 
he should not relinquish this aspect of his authority. 

“The November 8 constitution was a break with the authoritarian system that was 
inherited from the Akaev period. But it seems Kurmanbek Bakiev does not want to 
see an end to that system,” he said, referring to ex-president Askar Akaev, 
toppled in March 2005 by a coalition including both Bakiev and many politicians 
who have since become his opponents. 

Deputy Muratbek Mukashev took a similar view, saying, “On a careful reading [of 
the constitution], the president realised that he had been divested of many of 
his rights.” 

Some members of parliament are raising questions about whether the latest 
constitutional change is in fact legal. Kanybek Imanaliev of the Movement For 
Reforms said the bill only went through on December 30 after being turned down 
four times - a breach of parliamentary rules, in his view.

Imanaliev would like to see an appeal brought before Kyrgyzstan’s 
Constitutional Court, but this will be difficult since the body is currently 
unable to sit as it lacks a quorum, and has not even given its approval to the 
version of the constitution passed in November. 

Deputy Iskhak Masaliev highlighted the lack of clarity about which, if any, of 
the recent constitutional moves are in fact legal. “Some people say this 
[latest] constitution is illegal, but that means the November constitution is 
also illegal because it was passed in the same way,” he said.

As well as worries over legitimacy and fears that Bakiev is trying to claw back 
powers that he conceded to appease his political opponents and their thousands 
of supporters on the streets of Bishkek, some leading figures express concern 
that if the president rocks the boat too much, he may set off another round of 

Before Bakiev signed the latest constitution, Tursunbek Akun, head of the 
presidential committee for human rights, said he was trying to persuade him not 

“The November 9 constitution was the result of a compromise, mutual 
understanding and consensus. No one has a right to pass another one just a 
month and a half later. It’s unforgivable,” he said. 

Deputy speaker Erkinbek Alymbekov warned that “those around the president are 
unwittingly driving the country towards a second round of the March 24 

Cholpon Orozobekova is a contributor for Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz service of 

**** www.iwpr.net 

REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA provides the international community with a unique 
insiders' perspective on the region. Using our network of local journalists, 
the service publishes news and analysis from across Central Asia on a weekly 

The service forms part of IWPR's Central Asia Project based in Almaty, Bishkek, 
Tashkent and London, which supports media development and encourages better 
local and international understanding of the region.

IWPR's Reporting Central Asia is supported by the UK Community Fund. The 
service is published online in English and Russian. 

The opinions expressed in Reporting Central Asia are those of the authors and 
do not necessarily represent those of the publication or of IWPR.

REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA: Editor-in-Chief: Anthony Borden; Managing Editor: Yigal 
Chazan; Senior Editor: John MacLeod; Central Asia Programme Manager: Saule 
Mukhametrakhimova; Editor in Bishkek: Kumar Bekbolotov.

IWPR Project Development and Support: Executive Director: Anthony Borden; 
Strategy & Assessment Director: Alan Davis; Managing Director: Tim Williams.

**** www.iwpr.net 

IWPR builds democracy at the frontlines of conflict and change through the 
power of professional journalism. IWPR programs provide intensive hands-on 
training, extensive reporting and publishing, and ambitious initiatives to 
build the capacity of local media. Supporting peace-building, development and 
the rule of law, IWPR gives responsible local media a voice.

Institute for War & Peace Reporting
48 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7831 1030  Fax: +44 (0)20 7831 1050

For further details on this project and other information services and media 
programmes, go to: www.iwpr.net 

ISSN: 1477-7924 Copyright © 2006 The Institute for War & Peace Reporting 

**** www.iwpr.net 

If you wish to change your subscription details or unsubscribe please go to:  

Reply via email to