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.
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