Kyrgyz constitutional referendum, 2007

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A constitutional referendum was held in Kyrgyzstan on 21 October 2007, following the constitutional crisis caused by amendments passed since the Tulip Revolution in 2005 (in November and December 2006) being invalidated by the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan on 14 September 2007.[1] Voters were asked whether questions on a new constitution and electoral law. Both were approved by over 95% of voters.[2][3]

Background[edit]

In response to the invalidation of the constitutional amendments passed after the Tulip Revolution, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev called the referendum on 19 September 2007.[4][5] The new constitution provided for a 90-seat Supreme Council (an increase from 75) elected by proportional representation, whilst members of political parties declared illegal would lose their seats.[3] The president would have powers to appoint or dismiss the government, civil servants, the National Security Council, judges, prosecutors, directors of the National Bank and members of the Electoral Commission, but not to dissolve the Supreme Council.[3] The new electoral law would set a 5% nationwide electoral threshold for political parties, set a gender quota of 30% and require that at least 15% of candidates were under the age of 35 and 15% were from national minorities.[2] The changes were thought likely to see many of the independent politician and smaller parties eliminated from the Supremer Council.[5]

Conduct[edit]

According to observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), there were reports of numerous irregularities, observers being obstructed, and ballot stuffing; it also said that popular awareness of what was at stake in the referendum was low and called into question the claimed high turnout rate. The United States embassy also had concerns and said that the vote fell short of international standards.[6]

Results[edit]

Constitution[edit]

Do you agree with the new version of the constitution?[3]

Choice Votes %
For 2,078,748 95.44
Against 99,336 4.56
Invalid/blank votes 22,950
Total 2'201'034 100
Registered voters/turnout 80.64
Source: Direct Democracy

Electoral law[edit]

Do you agree with the new electoral law, as proposed by the President for the referendum?[2]

Choice Votes %
For 2,077,030 95.36
Against 100,978 4.64
Invalid/blank votes 22,577
Total 2,200,585 100
Registered voters/turnout 80.64
Source: Direct Democracy

Aftermath[edit]

Analysts assumed that there would be early parliamentary elections in 2008 following the referendum, especially as Bakiyev had also announced that he would be founding a political party.[5] Bakiyev called early elections for December 2007 immediately after preliminary results indicated that more than 75% of voters had approved the changes, with an official turnout of 80%.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bruce Pannier, Kyrgyzstan: Court Ruling Restores 2003 Constitution Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 17 September 2007
  2. ^ a b c Kyrgyzstan, 21 October 2007: Electoral law Direct Democracy (in German)
  3. ^ a b c d Kyrgyzstan, 21 October 2007: Constitution Direct Democracy (in German)
  4. ^ Kyrgyz leader calls referendum on Constitution change Oct. 21 RIA Novosti, 19 September 2007
  5. ^ a b c Bruce Pannier, Kyrgyzstan: President Sets Referendum Date On New Constitution Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 19 September 2007
  6. ^ "'Many violations' in Kyrgyz vote", BBC News, October 23, 2007.
  7. ^ "Kyrgyz leader calls snap election", BBC News, October 22, 2007.