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ICC NOTE: Kyrgyzstan’s parliament and president are in the process of working towards holding a referendum in December to make changes to their constitution. They would be following many other Central Asian countries who have begun or have already accomplished changes to their respective constitutions. Most of the new changes have been expanding presidential term limits as well as the offices power. The same it likely for Kyrgyzstan and some consider other changes to be directly connected to altering the way the government views certain human rights. Broad language and definitions could place religious minorities at risk of being targeted as enemies of state if the they so desire. While the details are not fully explained, the risk remains.

9/22/2016 Kyrgyzstan (Eurasia Net) – Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has passed a second reading of draft bill on holding a referendum in December on making changes to the constitution.

With the MPs vote on September 22, the likelihood of a plebiscite going ahead on December 4, as planned, has become a virtual certainty. Third readings are typically a formality and President Almazbek Atambayev has already thrown his weight behind amendments that have sown political turmoil in the country.

Of the 104 deputies that voted, 98 were in support of the referendum initiative, while six opposed.

Proposals to tinker with the constitution have come in for strong criticism from civil society as well as from international bodies like the Venice Commission, an advisory body to the European Council that rules on matters of constitutional law.

One key provision of the reform would see the role of prime minister being bolstered at the expense of the parliament. This has raised suspicions that Atambayev, who is limited constitutionally to one presidential term ending in 2017, may be laying the grounds for his immediate entourage to retain a dominant grip over power.

Another fix seen as insidious is one envisioning the introduction of loosely conceived “supreme state values” that would encompass individual human rights but also tag on concepts like “love of the Motherland,” “respect for the elderly” and “the accommodation of tradition and progress.” The ultimate goal of this aspect of the reform appears intended at chipping away at the individual human rights agenda that many governments in the post-Soviet space see as inimical to their model of authoritarian political development.

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