Monday, June 28, 2010

Kyrgyzstan Gets a New Constitution (and Everyone is Happy About It)

Kyrgyzstan In the words of the Wall Street Journal, voters in Kyrgyzstan "decisively endorsed" yesterday a new constitution for that country, reducing the previously autocratic power of the chief executive.  Here is a U.N. Press Release about yesterday's vote:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy for Kyrgyzstan have welcomed the peaceful and orderly conduct of the constitutional referendum held yesterday in the Central Asian nation, noting the good turnout for the poll despite the recent violence.  

Miroslav Jenca, who is head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia ("UNRCCA"), was in Kyrgyzstan during the vote, which was held in the wake of the clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that erupted in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad and other towns earlier this month. 

The violence displaced at least 300,000 people within Kyrgyzstan and sent an estimated 100,000 others across the border to neighbouring Uzbekistan. Many of the refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have reportedly begun to return to their places of origin last week. 

The recent clashes are the latest unrest to hit the country following the violent uprising in April that ousted former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. 

At a meeting with Interim President Rosa Otunbayeva, Mr. Jenca appreciated that the referendum was conducted “smoothly and without major incidents in such difficult conditions,” according to a statement released to the press. 

He took note of the preliminary assessment of international and local observers who have stated that despite certain shortcomings the process was largely transparent.   


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