Understanding the Proposed Kyrgyz Parliament

Publication Date: 
15 May 2010

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On April 26, 2010, the Interim Government of Kyrgyzstan, which took control of the country following early April protests that drove former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev from office, unveiled a new draft constitution that will be finalized and officially presented on May 20. A referendum will take place in June 27 in which the population will be able to vote “yes” or “no” in favor of adopting this new charter.

Since the draft of this new constitution was presented, its merits have been under debate both in Kyrgyzstan and in international forums. The electoral system is only one part of the draft, with other new or modified provisions on fundamental issues such as the separation of powers, the judicial system, human rights, and local self-government.  However, given Kyrgyzstan’s experience so far with repeated trends toward authoritarianism and manipulation of the parliament through referenda and electoral fraud, the proposed model for electing the legislature is a key topic of this debate.

In this briefing paper, Gavin Weise, IFES deputy director for Europe & Asia, explains the proposed electoral model – closed-list proportional representation in a single national constituency – and looks at its advantages and disadvantages in the context of the country’s political and societal traditions.

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