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

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid