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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kyrgyzstan to hold constitutional referendum in July
Zach Zagger at 2:04 PM ET

[JURIST] Kyrgyzstan interim deputy leader Omurbek Tekebayev announced Thursday that the country would hold a referendum on a new constitution on July 27. Tekebayev, part of the interim government that took power two weeks ago amid an anti-government uprising [JURIST report], said the new constitution would guarantee [AFP report] a parliamentary republic and reduce the powers of the president in order to prevent authoritarianism. He said the new constitution will also try to prevent powerful parliamentary majorities by limiting any political party to only 50 seats out of a 90-seat parliament. The country's last parliament was controlled by the ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev's [BBC profile] Ak-Zhol party. Tekebayev also announced that elections in the country will be held on October 10.

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Kyrgyzstan's interim government to begin a comprehensive investigation into the violence between April 6 and 8 that resulted in the overthrow of president Bakiyev. Kyrgyz interim leader Roza Otunbayeva [Telegraph profile] said last week that Bakiyev should stand trial [JURIST report] for the recent violence. Despite the pledge to bring Bakiyev and his allies to justice, so far only former defense minister Baktybek Kaliyev has been arrested [AFP report]. The protests, prompted in part by a drastic increase in utility costs, led to at least 84 deaths [Reuters report] and many more injuries. Earlier this month, Otunbayeva launched the interim government [JURIST report] after the violence forced Bakiyev to flee the capital.

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