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New draft Constitution - attempt to create authoritarian state

At least 80 deputies of the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan initiated a law on holding a referendum to amend the Constitution. It has been submitted for public discussion on the official website of the Parliament.

The first public reaction to the proposed redrawing of the Basic Law appeared on social media. Most of the users criticize the parliamentary initiative.

Director of the Institute of Constitutional Policy, Nurlan Sadykov, commented on the proposed amendments to 24.kg news agency.

The new edition of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, of course, requires more detailed study. However, we can already say now that it poses a threat to the freedom of Kyrgyzstanis and contains signs of authoritarianism.

Article 2, as well as the country’s main document, which is still in force, speaks of the right to submit laws to the referendum. Practice has shown that submission of an entire text of the Constitution to a referendum is a style of authoritarian government, another deception of citizens. A citizen may agree with one norm of the draft, but also may strongly disagree with another norm. What should he do?

Only important individual questions should be submitted to the referendum, which can be answered briefly: yes or no. For example: do you agree to an increase in the conscription age for the military service?

Article 3 of the draft Constitution stipulates that «Democracy in the Kyrgyz Republic is based on universal values». The word «based» is appropriate to use in the military-political sphere, thereby expressing disrespect for the institution of people’s rule.

The People’s Kurultai is spelled out in Article 7. Without touching on the content of this institution, it should be noted that the deputies of the Parliament did not have the right to initiate such amendments, since, according to Part 1 of Article 114 of the current Constitution, the Parliament does not have the right to amend Chapters 1 and 2 of the Basic Law.

In terms of its content, the kurultai becomes «the highest advisory, consultative and coordinating body of the people’s rule.» Its status remains unclear. If it is an advisory and consultative body, what will it coordinate? Coordination can be understood as everything: coordination of judicial and legislative decisions, coordination of state policy and decisions of local government bodies. Practically everything can be coordinated. In other words, it will substitute for all the state bodies, but it will not to bear any responsibility.

If we pay attention to the proposed right of the kurultai to make decisions on the most important issues of the development of the state and society, human and civil rights and freedoms, then why are the guarantees of human rights and freedoms given in the Constitution? What are state authorities and local government bodies for?

The most important issues of society include the right to private property, the right to privacy, the right to elect and be elected, the right to create a family, raise children ... But according to the authors of the draft Constitution, the kurultai will be able to intervene in these issues, despite the pleasant laws.

The danger of such uncertainties is that the kurultai will become a political weapon in the hands of unscrupulous politicians.

Nurlan Sadykov

Through such an institution, they will be able to encroach on private property, private life, electoral rights and, in general, on fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms.

It may be objected that kurultai is a traditional form of government of the Kyrgyz people. Yes, this is so, but it must be remembered that earlier the Kyrgyz people lived in communities, the kurultai was convened to make common decisions.

But today, there is an institute of local self-government, where decisions are also made in the interests of the local community. Today, according to the Law on Local Self-Government, community members have the right to gather at their kurultai and resolve issues of local importance.

Parliament is elected to resolve issues of the entire people of Kyrgyzstan. But when an attempt is made to create a central republican kurultai, the interests of a narrow group of people who want to have power without holding a responsible public office are visible here.

According to the proposed in the draft Constitution rule, the People’s Kurultai is in fact a body that can be controlled and any unconstitutional decisions can be made, and it can replace all government and administrative bodies.

If in the future the president of the country wants to become an «absolute monarch», then the kurultai will be able to realize such a dream of an authoritarian ruler.

Neither the court, nor the Parliament, nor the prosecutor, no one will be able to limit the autocracy of an authoritarian ruler based on a kurultai. In this case, the Constitution will not be able to have supreme legal force and direct effect in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The draft includes a fundamental change. According to Article 56 of the draft new Constitution, the President is the head of state and heads the executive branch of the Kyrgyz Republic. Further — Article 60 says that the president appoints the head of government (the post of prime minister is abolished), members of the government with the consent of the Parliament. That is, the executive branch is again two-headed: the president and the head of government.

The question arises: how will a person who heads the executive branch, but who is not the head of government, be responsible for the economy in the country? Once again, the head of government will be held responsible for all the failures in the economy, while the president again remains on the sidelines?

If the executive branch is accountable to the Parliament, will Parliament be able to demand the president’s report on the state of the economy in the country? It will not! Then what is the point of such changes?

In no case we should be hasty with such a draft Constitution. It is important to follow the procedure.

To be responsible for the country, MPs must move away from the authoritarian tradition of offering the people a single solution.

Nurlan Sadykov

It is important to discuss the text within the walls of Parliament with experts, specialists — lawyers and legal scholars, and only then prepare the final draft of the country’s Basic Law.

Otherwise, Kyrgyzstan will again face social cataclysms.

It is worth noting that all the problems of our society and state are not directly related to the Constitution, they are related only to the practice of adopting and implementing laws, and good governance.

Great Britain, Israel still live without a Constitution. People can live, create benefits for the people and conditions for prosperity under any Constitution. But if the rulers are unscrupulous, then all the blame is shifted to the Constitution.

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