News / Asia

Kyrgyzstan Adopts New Constitution

Voters in Kyrgyzstan approved a new constitution Sunday that will reduce presidential powers and give more authority to an elected parliament.  

Election officials said with most of the votes counted, about 90 percent of voters had approved the new constitution in the nationwide referendum.  Nearly 70 percent of the nearly 2.7 million eligible voters cast a ballot.

The interim government held the referendum despite warnings from the New York-based group Human Rights Watch that the polls could spark additional violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the country's south.  

Ethnic violence erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan on June 10 and killed at least 275 people.  

Also Sunday, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said Kyrgyzstan's referendum could help extremists come to power and eventually lead to the collapse of the state.

Mr. Medvedev, at the Group of 20 summit in Canada, said he could not imagine "how a parliamentary republic could work in Kyrgyzstan."  He said Kyrgyzstan needed a "strong, well-organized government."  He did not elaborate on his concerns.

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

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