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Kyrgyz opposition pushes for new Constitution

The Opposition pushed for a new Constitution, as protests against President Kurmanbek Bakiyev continued for a sixth day.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2006 13:16 IST

Kyrgyzstan's opposition pushed for a new Constitution on Tuesday, as protests against President Kurmanbek Bakiyev continued for a sixth day running in the Kyrgyz capital.

The new Constitution would effectively turn Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary system of government by taking away many of Bakiyev's prerogatives in dissolving parliament and nominating the government.

The document was approved by Bakiyev in principle last week and is in line with political reform promises he made after coming to power on the back of a popular revolution in Kyrgyzstan last year.

But Bektur Zulipiyev, a legal adviser to Bakiyev, said the opposition move was "illegitimate" and a government statement issued Tuesday said, "It seems like an unconstitutional attempt to seize power."

Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, is a strategic Central Asian state that hosts a US airforce base and Bakiyev has been courted by both Washington and Moscow.

But the president has lost support among many ordinary Kyrgyz for failing to deliver on reform promises and the country has been rocked by political instability in recent months.

On Saturday, several hundred opposition supporters rallied on Bishkek's main square to demand Bakiyev's resignation.

Hundreds of pro-Bakiyev demonstrators also gathered by the parliament building in central Bishkek.

The number of protesters has dwindled since a November 2 anti-Bakiyev rally brought some 10,000 people into the streets, raising fears of a repeat of the rioting and looting that characterised Kyrgyzstan's March 2005 revolution.

First Published: Nov 07, 2006 13:16 IST