Referendum Vote A Step Toward Democracy in Kyrgyzstan | Freedom House

Referendum Vote A Step Toward Democracy in Kyrgyzstan

Washington

Freedom House applauds the people of Kyrgyzstan for going to the polls on Sunday to overwhelmingly endorse a new constitution and approve the mandate of interim president Roza Otunbayeva through next year. 
 
The referendum vote, results of which will not be official for approximately one week, came just after weeks of violence in the southern part of the country that left hundreds dead and sent hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks fleeing their homes in fear.  According to preliminary results, nearly 90 percent of voters approved the referendum, and turnout greatly exceeded the 50 percent threshold necessary for results to be valid.
 
“The past three and a half months have been extraordinarily traumatic for the people of Kyrgyzstan, making the broad participation in Sunday’s referendum all the more laudable,” said Fabio Piana, resident country director for Kyrgyzstan at Freedom House.  “We hope to see this followed by a reconciliation of the ethnic communities in support of a truly democratic constitutional order.”
 
The new constitution creates a parliamentary-based government, which would be the first and only of its kind in Central Asia. Kyrgyz voters are scheduled to go to the polls again in October to elect the new parliament.  In April of this year, President Kurmanbek Bakiev was overthrown by crowds in Bishkek after his security forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrators.  Freedom House had down-graded Kyrgyzstan to “Not Free” in its annual Freedom in the World ranking in January, due in large part to Bakiev’s increasing authoritarianism.
 
Freedom House conducts programs in Kyrgyzstan to strengthen human rights and the engagement of civic society in public affairs.
 
Kyrgyzstan is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2010, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
 
To learn more about Kyrgyzstan, read:
 
 
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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