News / Asia

Kyrgyz Citizens Overwhelmingly Approve New Constitution

Kyrgyz election officials say voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, weeks after deadly inter-ethnic clashes threatened to destabilize the country.  Meanwhile, opposition parties have cast doubt on the results, while Russia has expressed concerns about the country's future.

Kyrgyzstan's central elections committee says 90 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of a new constitution that will increase the power of parliament and lay the groundwork for national elections.  The country's interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, heralded the results.  She says the referendum was valid and succeeded despite fierce resistance from its opponents.

Ms. Otunbayeva had pushed for the referendum, despite calls that it be delayed in the aftermath of inter-ethnic clashes in the south earlier this month.  The fighting killed hundreds of people and displaced some 400,000 others, mainly ethnic Uzbeks.  The provisional government, which took power following the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April, hopes approval of the new constitution will grant it more legitimacy.

Some members of the opposition accuse the government of falsifying the results of the referendum and the reported high voter turnout of 70 percent.  International observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said Kyrgyz authorities, for the most part, administered the vote in a transparent manner.

Jens Eschenbaecher, a spokesperson for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, says, "Under the circumstances this referendum was held, the authorities did a good job in organizing this process.  It is now time in the coming months to address the shortcoming that were observed in lieu of the upcoming parliamentary elections later this year."

Citing the short-comings, the OSCE says the registration process was imperfect and there were not enough safeguards to prevent multiple voting.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told reporters at the G-20 summit in Toronto, Canada, that he has doubts about the new Kyrgyz government.  He said he cannot image that the parliament republic model will work in Kyrgyzstan.  He also expressed concerns that a weak government will allow extremist elements to gain power.

But Sergei Abashin an analyst with the Russian Academy of Sciences, says the new system could be an improvement for Kyrgyzstan, which he says has been ruled for the past 20 years by a series of strong-arm presidents.  Abashin says the opposition was pushed out of politics and into the streets, which created the scenario for unrest - causing revolutions and endless rallies - and showed authoritarian rule does not work. He described the new Kyrgyz parliamentary system as an "experiment" and said it could be successful if it includes the various political factions in the process.

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet republic that houses both Russian and U.S. military bases.  Russia has expressed concerns before about a lack of security in the country, and its role as a major route for drug trafficking.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid