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Kyrgyz President Orders Referendum on Proposed Constitutional Reforms


Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has ordered a referendum to ask citizens to decide who should have more power - the president or the parliament.

A special commission has been working for several months on a new constitution, under which power would pass from the president to the parliament. President Bakiyev says the people of Kyrgyzstan should be asked if they want to curtail the powers of the president in favor of a stronger parliament.

Some of the president's opponents see the move as a ploy to put off or scrap planned constitutional reforms.

Mr. Bakiyev, a former opposition leader, came to power following an uprising last March that ousted longtime President Askar Akayev. He won the presidency in July, pledging to curtail presidential powers and give more power to parliament.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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