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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BISHKEK1170
2007-09-19 12:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bishkek
Cable title:  

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SETS REFERENDUM ON NEW

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KG 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 001170 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL KG
SUBJECT: KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SETS REFERENDUM ON NEW
CONSTITUTION FOR OCTOBER 21

REF: A. BISHKEK 1158


B. BISHKEK 1137

BISHKEK 00001170 001.2 OF 002


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



1. (C) Summary: In a nationwide address September 19, Kyrgyz
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced a national referendum
for October 21 on two questions: a new version of the
constitution, and a new election code. Bakiyev said that
under his constitutional draft, the parliament would be
elected entirely by party lists. The changes to the election
code would enable elections by party list. Bakiyev also said
that the role of "akims" (appointed heads of district
administrations) would be increased as the "president's
representatives in the regions." Bakiyev announced that he
intended to create his own political party. Bakiyev's draft
constitution has yet to be made public, and with only a month
until the referendum, there will be little opportunity to
analyze the proposed changes and educate the public. We
expect that parliament will be dissolved shortly after the
referendum. End Summary.

Referendum in October


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





2. (SBU) In a September 19 address to the cabinet and
parliament broadcast live on national television, President
Bakiyev announced that he had signed a decree to hold a
referendum on October 21. The referendum will cover two
questions: a new version of the constitution, and changes to
the election code. Bakiyev claimed he had been forced to
take this dramatic step because the Constitutional Court's
September 14 ruling invalidating the current constitution
(reftels) had brought constitutional reform to a "dead end."
He said that the constitution had become the victim of a
struggle between different political forces, but he pledged
that his draft would take into account the ideas put forward
by previous constitutional working groups.



3. (SBU) Bakiyev said that his draft constitution would
provide for the parliament to be elected on a proportional
basis by party lists. Bakiyev claimed that the current
single-mandate system exacerbated tensions in the country,
and that the current "MP-businessmen" were not accountable to
anyone. Because he did not think that the current parliament
would pass changes to the election code to enable party-list
elections, Bakiyev said it was necessary to include those
changes to the election code as a second question in the
referendum.



4. (SBU) Bakiyev gave few details about his proposed draft,
and he did not say when the draft would be made public. He
did say that the role of the parliament and local councils
(currently elected) would be increased, but he also said that
the role of the "akims" (presidentially appointed heads of
district administrations) would be strengthened, better to
serve as the "president's representatives" in the regions.

Parliamentary Elections to Follow?


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





5. (C) In his address, Bakiyev sharply criticized the current
parliament and certain members for blocking important
legislation. He also attacked the current political parties
for "not taking responsibility" for developments in the
country. Therefore, Bakiyev said, he had decided to create a
new political party to help him carry out the country's
development strategy. Some parliamentarians and other
commentators have told us they expect the parliament to be
dissolved shortly after the referendum, and Bakiyev is
confident that his new party (either alone or in coalition
with other pro-presidential parties) can gain a majority in
the new parliament.

BISHKEK 00001170 002.2 OF 002



Comment


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





6. (C) To this point, Bakiyev appears to be managing the
"political show" to his advantage: his power over parliament
has increased following the return to the 2003 constitution,
a referendum date has been set for his new constitution, and
his opponents likely will have little time to organize if
there are new parliamentary elections. As Bakiyev's draft
constitution has yet to be made public, and with only a month
until the referendum, there will be little opportunity to
analyze the proposed changes and educate the public.
However, politics never proceeds in a straight path here, and
we expect there will be a number of additional surprises this
fall.
YOVANOVITCH