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The Kyrgyz parliament has failed to adopt a new draft Constitution designed to expand presidential powers
The Kyrgyz parliament has failed to adopt a new draft Constitution designed to expand presidential powers, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Monday. Fifty-nine deputies of the 75-seat parliament participated in the vote. Only 46 deputies voted for the amendments proposed following the resignation of the Kyrgyz Cabinet last week. More than 50 votes were necessary to pass the bill. A new draft of the Constitution was introduced last week after the Kyrgyz government resigned en bloc in protest of a previous constitutional draft that provided for weakened presidential powers. The new Constitution, adopted following a weeklong opposition-led rally in the capital, Bishkek, which briefly turned violent, is based on a compromise agreement drafted by opposition and pro-government lawmakers. It stipulates that the Cabinet will be formed by the party that wins parliamentary elections, and that it will be expanded from the current 75 deputies to 90. Deputy Speaker Erkin Alymbekov earlier said that the new draft contained some 10 amendments giving the Kyrgyz president more power than he had before the "tulip revolution" of March 2005. That event ousted the country's first president, Askar Akayev, and brought to power incumbent leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev, but his rule has been marred by economic problems, high-profile murders, prison riots and disputes over the control of lucrative businesses. Alymbekov said that under the new amendments the president will regain control over all power structures, the right to appoint governors and establish a new presidential staff. Both Russia and the United States are closely monitoring developments in the impoverished ex-Soviet republic as the former maintains an airbase in Kant, about 20 miles west of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, and the latter leases the Manas airbase, which is the only U.S. base in post-Soviet Central Asia since Uzbekistan evicted American troops from its territory last year.
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