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Experts: Any initiative on constitutional reform is illegitimate

Experts in the field of constitutional law appealed to the deputies of Parliament of Kyrgyzstan in connection with the adoption of a bill on holding a referendum to determine the form of government.

The appeal says that today, on the initiative of a narrow group of people in power, instead of solving the problems of the pandemic and social and economic crisis, without any need, the process of initiating a law on popular vote was launched on the same day with the early presidential elections. Analysts point out that everything is done in a hurry, in violation of laws, in conditions of limited legitimacy of the legislative body.

«The fact that the legitimacy of the Parliament in changing the Constitution is limited is confirmed both by the Kyrgyz and the authoritative Venice Commission. Moreover, according to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Parliament during the prorogation period should be guided in its activities by the principle of reasonable restraint,» the experts stress.

We are convinced that any initiative on constitutional reform, including putting the issue of determining the form of government to a referendum, is illegitimate.

From appeal of experts to deputies of the Parliament

Lawyers also noted that when the bill initiated by Akylbek Japarov was adopted, gross procedural and substantive violations took place.

It is specified that, according to Article 40 of the Law on Referendum, a decision taken by popular vote is generally binding and does not need additional approval. It means that for the subsequent implementation of the decision of the referendum proposed by Akylbek Japarov, serious changes will be made to the Constitution.

The initiative of the deputy was initially aimed at changing the Constitution, therefore, it can be legitimate only if initiated by at least 80 deputies of the Parliament.

But since this requirement is not met, holding of the referendum is illegal. «The society will not have confidence in the voting itself, and citizens — in the results of the referendum. As a result, the subsequent referendum on the adoption of a new Constitution will obviously be illegitimate, since it is based on an unsuitable legal premise. Part 2 of Article 7 of the Law on Referendum provides that » question of a referendum should be formulated in such a way that it excludes the possibility of its multiple interpretation and only an unambiguous answer can be given." The text of the ballot itself should contain the necessary information that will enable a voter who does not have special political and legal knowledge, at the polling station on election day, directly in the ballot, to see and evaluate the differences in the forms of government. The law, initiated by Akylbek Japarov, does not provide for any clarification of what is meant by «parliamentary» and «presidential» forms of government," the appeal says.

Analysts believe that the question is formulated incorrectly also because the voter does not have even the minimum necessary explanatory information about the form of government he or she chooses when making a decision at a polling station.

Along with the parliamentary and presidential forms of government, there are also mixed forms of government in international practice and science. Thus, the presidential-parliamentary form of government existed in Kyrgyzstan from 1993 to 2010, it exists in many CIS countries, and the prime minister -presidential form has been operating in the republic since 2010, it exists in Austria, France and Poland.

«The voter should not be limited in the choice of the form of government. If the ballot does not contain the entire list of the main forms of government existing in the world, as well as at least minimal explanatory information on them, then truncated and insufficient information can mislead the voter, and therefore the results of such a referendum will be questioned,» experts explain.

Based on the foregoing, analysts appeal to the deputies of the Parliament with a demand not to adopt a law on holding the constitutional referendum, remind them of limited powers and ask for timely presidential and parliamentary elections.