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At a ses­sion of the country’s Jogorku Kenesh (Par­lia­ment) on Octo­ber 14, 2020, Sadyr Jap­arov was elec­ted Prime Min­is­ter of Kyrgyz­stan. In his speech to mem­bers of par­lia­ment, Jap­arov reit­er­ated the claim that he had made up until that day in a num­ber of pub­lic speeches and inter­views – that Kyrgyz­stan needs to move to a pres­id­en­tial form of gov­ern­ment and alter its constitution.

On Octo­ber 20, 2020, in an inter­view with Al Jaz­eera, Jap­arov claimed to be in pos­ses­sion of a draft of a new con­sti­tu­tion provid­ing for a major­it­ari­an sys­tem and a kur­ul­tai – a kind of rep­res­ent­at­ive body to which both the Pres­id­ent and Par­lia­ment would in the­ory be accountable. 

On Octo­ber 22, 2020, in flag­rant and open viol­a­tion of pro­ced­ures for the adop­tion of new laws, the Jogorku Kenesh passed the con­sti­tu­tion­al law of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic “On the sus­pen­sion of cer­tain pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion­al law of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic ‘On the elec­tion of the Pres­id­ent of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic and mem­bers of Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic.’”

The law sus­pen­ded the reg­u­la­tions of the elect­or­al law that provided for man­dat­ory dead­lines for repeat elec­tions. The law itself made it clear that the pur­pose of the can­cel­la­tion of the elec­tions was the need for con­sti­tu­tion­al reform in order to amend the exist­ing Con­sti­tu­tion of the Kyrgyz Repub­lic. Art­icle 2 of the newly adop­ted law ori­gin­ally stip­u­lated that the exist­ing Con­sti­tu­tion be amended no later than Janu­ary 10, 2021. 

The Venice Com­mis­sion, in its Opin­ion on the issue, noted that

1) Par­lia­ment can­not approve con­sti­tu­tion­al reforms dur­ing the peri­od of prorogation; 

2) The pro­cess of ini­ti­at­ing and car­ry­ing out con­sti­tu­tion­al reform requires a com­pre­hens­ive ana­lys­is and pub­lic dis­cus­sion both inside and out­side the legislature; 

3) Con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­ced­ure and stat­utory peri­ods for con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments must in any case be respected; 

4) The sus­pen­sion of elec­tions on account of the need for con­sti­tu­tion­al reform demon­strates a purely instru­ment­al con­cep­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion and can­not be con­sidered to meet demo­crat­ic standards.

From the speech of S. Jap­arov in Par­lia­ment on Octo­ber 10, 2020: “The people want a major­it­ari­an sys­tem, and polit­ic­al forces want just repeat elec­tions. We have to come to a com­prom­ise. We will resolve this issue togeth­er with you,” Sadyr Jap­arov replied to “Bir Bol” lead­er Altyn­bek Sulaymanov’s ques­tion regard­ing the date of the next elec­tions. “We pro­pose a major­it­ari­an sys­tem. We there­fore have to carry out con­sti­tu­tion­al reform as soon as pos­sible. There will be a pres­id­ent, there will be no prime min­is­ter, there will be a kur­ul­tai sys­tem. I believe that if par­lia­ment­ar­ism remains, the num­ber of depu­ties will be reduced to 75 or even 50. But this issue will be resolved togeth­er with you,” he told parliamentarians.

On Novem­ber 20, 2020, Act­ing Pres­id­ent Talant Mamytov issued a decree “On the Estab­lish­ment of a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coun­cil.” Accord­ing to the decree, the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coun­cil was to exam­ine ways of mak­ing improve­ments to the found­a­tions of the con­sti­tu­tion­al order; the rights and freedoms of the indi­vidu­al and the cit­izen; the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment; the optim­iz­a­tion and delin­eation of powers between the branches of gov­ern­ment, as well as oth­er issues attach­ing to these top­ics, and report back to the Kyrgyz Republic’s Jogorku Kenesh with pro­pos­als for the draft law “On the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Kyrgyz Republic.”

On Janu­ary 27, 2021, the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coun­cil con­cluded its work. On Feb­ru­ary 9, 2021, the Jogorku Kenesh pub­lished a draft of the new con­sti­tu­tion on its web­site, final­ized by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coun­cil and signed by the Chair­man of the Coun­cil, B. Borubashev.

To read more about the find­ings, please, down­load our report below