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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BISHKEK1587
2006-11-09 12:34:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bishkek
Cable title:  

A SNAPSHOT OF THE NEW KYRGYZ CONSTITUTION

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KG 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BISHKEK 001587 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/12/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL KG
SUBJECT: A SNAPSHOT OF THE NEW KYRGYZ CONSTITUTION

REF: BISHKEK 1586

BISHKEK 00001587 001.2 OF 004


Classified By: Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: On November 9, President Bakiyev
signed into law a new constitution, which is effective
immediately. The text, which is based on an amended version
of the existing constitution, was passed around midnight on
Nov. 8 by the Kyrgyz parliament. The result of a compromise
between the president and the opposition, agreement on the
new text was reached under pressure from mass protests that
started on November 2, and the compromise effectively ended
the demonstrations. Under the terms of the compromise, the
President, the Prime Minister and other elected and appointed
officials will be allowed to serve out their existing
mandates.



2. (C) The revised constitution shifts some of the
president's powers to the parliament and the government,
strengthens the independence of the judiciary, and provides
an enhanced system of checks and balances among the branches
of power. The new constitution also allows for dual
citizenship, which the old constitution did not. The changes
made to the constitution represent a positive development
towards a better balance between the branches of power.
However, much will depend on how the new provisions are
implemented. END SUMMARY AND COMMENT.

THE NEW OLD CONSTITUTION


--------------------------





3. (U) Around midnight on November 8, the Kyrgyz parliament
adopted amendments to the existing constitution with 67 out
of 69 votes. Even though many people refer to this document
as "the new constitution", in reality it is the old
constitution amended to allow for better system of checks and
balances. (Note: The existing legislation does not provide
for adopting a totally new constitution. End note.)



4. (U) The changes envisage shifting some of the president's
powers to the parliament and the government, provide
potential for strengthening the independence of the
judiciary, and define a better system of checks and balances
between branches of power. Early in the afternoon on
November 9, the president signed the amendments and the new
constitution came into effect. Under the terms of the
compromise, the President, the Prime Minister and other
elected and appointed officials will be allowed to serve out
their existing mandates. Below is post's quick analysis of
the new provisions of the constitution. We note that there
remains some confusion regarding the final version of some of
the clauses in the new constitution.

PRESIDENT'S POWERS CURTAILED


--------------------------





5. (SBU) In the new version, the president's powers are
curtailed. Now the president does not nominate the prime

minister -) this right goes to a majority party in the
parliament. The president also lost his authority to
determine the structure of the government and to appoint,
members of the government (i.e. the cabinet of ministers).
However, the president retains his right to dismiss members
of the government. The president lost his authority to
establish or disband the National Security Service (SNB) -)
this agency becomes a part of the government and its chair
now reports to the prime minister, not to the president, as
before. In theory, all the ministers now report to the Prime
Minister; previously, the President controlled the power
ministries (Interior, Defense, Foreign Affairs and the SNB).
However, the President retains the responsibility of
formulating foreign policy and remains the Commander in Chief
of the Armed Forces. The president can no longer establish
or abolish executive bodies that are outside the government)

BISHKEK 00001587 002.2 OF 004


this authority used to be one of the president's most
powerful tools. Previously, the president nominated judges
for parliamentary approval; now a new body, the National
Council for Judicial Affairs, nominates judges for the
Constitutional and Supreme Court, and the president forwards
the nominations to the parliament for approval. However, the
law establishing the National Council remains to be written.
(Comment: Establishment of a National Council for Judicial
Affairs is part of the Kyrgyz proposal for an MCA Threshold
Country program to increase independence of the judiciary.
End Comment.)



6. (U) There was a bitter fight between the president and
opposition over the authority to appoint, with the consent of
parliament, and to dismiss the General Prosecutor, the chairs
of the National Bank, Central Electoral Commission and
Auditing chamber, and local judges. In the end, the
president retained all of the above authorities, but in the
case of appointing local judges, he can appoint them from a
pool of names nominated by the National Council for Judiciary
Affairs.



7. (U) The new text also eliminates the president's previous
right to suspend or annul normative legal acts of the
government.



8. (U) The new constitution significantly limits the
president's ability dissolve the parliament. The President
may dissolve parliament when parliament fails three times to
form the government. Previously, the President could
dissolve the parliament as the result of a referendum, in the
event of three refusals to approve the appointment of a Prime
Minister or in the event of "another crisis caused by
insurmountable differences between the parliament and other
branches of state power." This last catchall provision is
eliminated entirely in the new text.



9. (U) Under the new text, the procedure to impeach the
president has become much easier: the president can be
removed by two thirds of votes in the parliament on the basis
of a parliamentary charge of high treason or commission of
another grievous crime. Before, the charge had to be
confirmed by a ruling of the Constitutional Court and passed
by a four-fifths majority of the total number of deputies.
The old text also had a penalty clause ) dissolution of the
parliament ) if the parliament failed to secure concurrence
of the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court has no
role in the impeachment process in the new text; Parliament
alone can impeach.



10. (U) According to the new constitution, if the president
is unable to carry out his duties, the speaker of parliament
performs his duties until the election of a new President;
previously, the Prime Minister took over the duties. (Note:
Parliamentary Speaker Sultanov played a key mediating role in
negotiating the compromise text. End note.)



11. (U) The new constitution contains a provision precluding
an incumbent president from extending his term in office or
re-election to a new term if changes to the constitution are
made.

PARLIAMENT BECOMES LARGER AND STRONGER


--------------------------





12. (U) The number of deputies increased from 75 to 90, and
half of them are to be elected by party lists.



13. (U) The party that receives over 50% of seats to which
deputies are elected by party lists (i.e., at least 23
seats), nominates the prime minister and forms the
government. If none of the parties gets at least 23 seats,
the president designates the majority party that will
nominate the prime minister and form the government; if the

BISHKEK 00001587 003.2 OF 004


majority party is unable to do this within 14 days, the right
to form the government goes to the second largest party. If
this second party fails, then the right goes to the third
largest party. If the third largest party does not form the
government, the president may dissolve the parliament and
form a government, which will operate until the new
Parliamentary elections are held and a newly elected
parliament forms a new government.



14. (U) In the new constitution, the number of committees
in the parliament is not specified; previously, it was
limited to 7 committees.



15. (U) Now the presence of a majority of deputies at a
parliamentary meeting is sufficient for a quorum; previously,
the presence of two thirds of deputies was required for a
quorum.



16. (U) The parliament can express a vote of no confidence
in the government by a simple majority vote; previously, no
less than two-thirds of the total number of deputies was
required. The president can either agree to dismiss the
government or disagree with the decision of the parliament.
In the latter case, the government remains in power. If
within three months the parliament again expresses a vote of
no confidence, the president must either dissolve the
parliament or dismiss the government.



17. (U) The old constitution did not have a clear provision
when deputies could be deprived of their parliamentary
mandate if they systematically miss meetings of the
parliament without any good reason during one session; now a
threshold of 45 working days is introduced.

GOVERNMENT BECOMES MORE INDEPENDENT OF THE PRESIDENT


--------------------------



--------------------------





18. (U) Now the government is responsible and accountable
to the parliament; previously, the government was responsible
to the President and accountable to the parliament.



19. (U) Now the prime minister determines the structure,
nominates government ministers and offers them for
parliamentary approval.

JUDICIARY


--------------------------





20. (U) The new constitution envisages a new body - the
National Council for Judiciary Affairs (NCJA), which will
consist of equal numbers of judges, members of the parliament
and representatives of civil society. Operation and
authorities of NCJA will be outlines in a separate law.



21. (U) Judges of local courts will be appointed or
dismissed by the president at the nomination of NCJA; the
first appointment will be for the period of 5 years, and for
10 years thereafter. Before, local judges were appointed by
the president with the consent of the parliament for a term
of 7 years.



22. (U) Now a judge of the Constitutional Court or the
Supreme Court may be dismissed from his office before the end
of the term by no fewer than two-thirds of the total number
of deputies of the parliament upon the nomination by the
President only if it is supported by NCJA.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP


--------------------------





23. (U) The new constitution allows for dual citizenship,
which the previous constitution did not.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

BISHKEK 00001587 004.2 OF 004




--------------------------





24. (U) The preamble of the constitution defines Kyrgyzstan
as "a sovereign, unitary, democratic, based on the rule of
law, social state"; the previous definition also contained
the word "secular".



25. (U) According to the new constitution, changes to it
can be made by the parliament; the old constitution allowed
for adoption of changes through a referendum. The new
constitution retains a provision requiring that proposals to
introduce amendments and supplements to the Constitution are
considered by the parliament, taking into account the ruling
of the Constitutional Court, no earlier than three months and
no later than six months from the day of submission of the
proposal to the parliament.



26. (U) The new constitution contains a section on a
transition period, during which the current president and
parliament, judges of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional
Court and local courts, chairs of the National Bank, Central
Electoral Commission and Auditing Camber, the General
Prosecutor and Ombudsman, mayors and local governments remain
in their offices until the end of the term to which they were
elected or appointed. The existing legislation will remain
in force until it is brought in compliance with the new
provisions of the constitution, if needed.

THE THORNY LANGUAGE ISSUE


--------------------------





27. (U) The constitution was written and adopted in the
Russian language; now it is to be translated in Kyrgyz.
YOVANOVITCH