15:00 GMT +319 February 2018
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    New Kyrgyz Constitution may grant broader presidential powers

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    BISHKEK, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament was expected to discuss a new draft Constitution expanding presidential powers Thursday, but the discussion was postponed until Friday as no quorum was reached.

    The Kyrgyz government resigned en bloc Tuesday, a move prompted by an ongoing standoff between the Central Asia country's Cabinet and lawmakers following the adoption of a new Constitution last month which provides for a new method of forming the Cabinet of Ministers.

    The new Constitution, signed following a week-long opposition-led rally in the capital, Bishkek, which briefly turned violent, and based on a compromise agreement drafted by opposition and pro-government lawmakers, stipulates that the Cabinet is formed by a party which wins parliamentary elections, and that the parliament is extended to 90 deputies from the current 75.

    Only 30 of the parliament's 75 members were present at the Thursday session, and the discussion of a new draft was rescheduled for Friday.

    Deputy Speaker Erkin Alymbekov said he is opposed to the adoption of the new Constitution, which will put the country back and cause "a more serious systemic crisis."

    He said the new draft, which has not been presented to deputies yet, contained some 10 amendments, which will give the Kyrgyz president more power than he had before the "tulip revolution" of March 2005.

    That event ousted the country's first president, Askar Akayev, and brought to power incumbent leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev, but his rule has been marred by economic problems, high-profile murders, prison riots and disputes over the control of lucrative businesses.

    Alymbekov said that under the new amendments the president will regain control over all power structures, the right to appoint governors and establish a new presidential staff.

    He said the authorities were putting pressure on the parliament. "They are telling us that we will be dissolved if we do not adopt the Constitution."

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