Monday, November 06, 2006

Kyrgyz “Maydan,” the Sequel (Part 7): Does Kyrgyzstan Await a New Constitution or Violence Today?

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Special Forces guard Kyrgyzstan’s White House yesterday (courtesy of KyrgyzReport)

As people in Bishkek begin to awake from a long night of political crisis, it is unclear where the dust settled last night. The last news from Akipress suggested that the parliament had not succeeded in establishing the quorum it sought for voting on its new constitution. While 34 parliamentarians had signed off on the new constitution, at least four additional signatures are needed to legally adopt the constitution. According to the interpretation of the head of the constitutional court, Cholpan Bayekova, who came to parliament last night, the deputies only require a majority (38) and not two-thirds (50) to adopt the constitution due to a technicality. The 34 deputies who had signed the new constitution apparently spent the night in the building of the parliament, hoping that additional signatures would be gathered by 12 noon today.

This morning in Bishkek, nothing seems clear. If 38 deputies sign the new constitution, and the deputies claim to now be empowered under a new constitution, will this be enough of a mandate to allow them to act without the capitulation of Bakiyev and Kulov? More disconcerting, Bakiyev and Kulov have been conspicuously silent since earlier last evening. Is there something planned to discredit the parliamentarians even if they claim to have adopted a new constitution?
Commentators on KyrgyzReport offer a particularly ominous analysis of the choices left to Bakiyev
and note that many of them include at least some bloodshed. Let’s hope it does not come to that. At least today is a holiday, and the city seems to be taking its time to wake up. Nonetheless, today will be a critical day that could determine the future trajectory of Kyrgyzstan politics for the near future.

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