Talks between Kyrgyz president and opposition continue

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BISHKEK, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - No deal has yet been reached between the president of Kyrgyzstan and the opposition on reducing the leader's powers, but talks are continuing, the opposition leader said Tuesday.

The Kyrgyz opposition said that if President Kurmanbek Bakiyev does not agree to their demand to change the constitution, delegating some of his powers to parliament, they will initiate mass anti-government protests, calling for Bakiev and the prime minister to resign.

Speaking to reporters during a break in the talks, Omurbek Tekebayev said, "No solid results have been achieved. The rally scheduled for November 2 is inevitable. Bakiyev's resignation is still on the agenda."

Bakiyev came to power in 2005 on the back of anti-government protests, which forced his long-standing predecessor, Askar Akayev, to step down.

Now Bakiyev also faces calls for resignation, with the opposition accusing him of inefficiency in fighting corruption and implementing economic reforms in the impoverished former Soviet republic.

MP Melis Eshimkanov, an opposition activist, said the president does appear open to "certain concessions" on constitutional reform. He also said that if a new constitution is adopted, the incumbent Cabinet will have to resign.

Earlier on Tuesday, police in the Central Asian country prevented opposition activists from setting up a camp outside the government headquarters in the capital, Bishkek.

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