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Kyrgyz leader calls referendum on Constitution change Oct. 21

11:30 19/09/2007
(Adds details, quotes, background in paras 2-3, 5-11)

BISHKEK, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said Wednesday he had signed a decree to call a referendum on amending the country's Constitution on October 21.

Kyrgyzstan's Constitutional Court invalidated the country's Constitution last week after ruling that its adoption by the parliament in 2006 was illegitimate.

"This [amended] Constitution is for everybody, not only for the chosen ones," Bakiyev said.

He said the draft to be voted on had been developed on the basis of earlier proposals put forward by political parties, including opposition forces.

The document stipulates that the country's parliament will be elected on the basis of party ballots, and district and regional governments will serve as "the president's representatives at the local level."

"It is unacceptable that the current parliament is not accountable to anyone," Bakiyev said in a formal address to the people and parliament, adding that the legislature must become a subject of public control.

The Kyrgyz Constitution was adopted by a national referendum in 2003 and amended twice in 2006.

In November, when an immediate constitutional reform was the main demand of opposition forces during mass rallies in downtown Bishkek, the Constitution was altered to grant parliament broader powers.

However, a month later, in December, as a result of pressure by pro-presidential forces, it was again revised in favor of the president.

Bakiyev, who previously maintained neutrality toward political parties, said he wanted to form a ruling party in the country.

"I intend to form a party of creation, a party of action and responsibility," he said.

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RIA NovostiKyrgyz leader calls referendum on Constitution change Oct. 21

11:30 19/09/2007 Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said Wednesday he had signed a decree to call a referendum on amending the country's Constitution on October 21. >>

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