Kyrgyzstan sets date for presidential inauguration
Interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva will be sworn in as president this weekend, the provisional government said on Wednesday, just days after the country overwhelmingly approved a new constitution.
"After the central election commission announces the definitive results of the referendum on July 2, Roza Otunbayeva will be sworn in as president on July 3," government spokesman Farid Niyazov told AFP.
The inauguration ceremony, which Niyazov said was to be a low-key affair at Otunbayeva's request, is to be held in a grand Soviet-era concert hall in the capital Bishkek.
Kyrgyzstan's provisional government, which came to power in April on the back of bloody street protests which ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has so far struggled to impose order on the ex-Soviet republic.
Clashes between ethnic majority Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks earlier this month in the south of the country killed at least 294 people according to the latest toll, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Although officials say that the vast majority of ethnic Uzbek refugees who fled to neighbouring Uzbekistan have now returned, the country faces major obstacles in housing and feeding the thousands left homeless by the violence.
Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished Central Asian state that has seen the violent ouster of its only two post-independence governments, has long been considered the most politically volatile country in the region.
The interim government has hoped that the referendum, which passed overwhelmingly to officially establish Kyrgyzstan as ex-Soviet Central Asia's first constitutional democracy, would help legitimize its authority.
The new constitution slashes the powers of the president and sets the stage for parliamentary elections that authorities confirmed Wednesday would be held on October 10 to bring in a permanent government.
Otunbayeva will serve as president until 2011 elections.
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