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Kyrgyz president signs new Constitution broadening his powers - 1

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Kyrgyzstan's President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed amendments to the country's Constitution Monday enhancing his powers, the presidential press office said.
(Adds paragraphs 2, 4-7)

BISHKEK, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan's President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed amendments to the country's Constitution Monday enhancing his powers, the presidential press office said.

The new Constitution gives Bakiev the right to appoint a prime minister after approval by parliament. The president can now also appoint regional governors and appoint and dismiss security chiefs.

The parliament approved the new draft - the second one in several months - December 30 in spite of protests from the opposition earlier in the month that called it "authoritarian," also saying it failed to address basic civil and human rights.

The previous Constitution, hastily adopted November 8 in a bid to end the ongoing political crisis, curbed much of Bakiyev's presidential powers and was a compromise between the opposition and pro-government lawmakers.

Bakiyev's rule since the March 2005 ouster of longtime leader Askar Akayev has been marred by pervasive corruption, economic problems, high-profile murders and prison riots.

The new Constitution was prompted by the resignation of Prime Minister Felix Kulov and his Cabinet in mid-December amid a standoff with parliament.

The new draft was signed in the presence of Kulov, now acting premier, and the chairmen of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, the press office said.

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