Kyrgyzstans provisional government is determined to go
ahead with a referendum on moving towards parliamentary
democracy next month, despite attempts by supporters of deposed
president Kurmanbek Bakiyev to disrupt it.
Kuban Mambetaliev, Kyrgyzstans ambassador to the UK,
said this weekend that the new draft constitution would shift
much of the power to appoint government ministers away from the
president to parliament.
Supporters of the former president are still active,
advocating separatism [of southern Kyrgyzstan] and trying to
play on ethnic divisions, Mambetaliev told Emerging
Markets. The authorities will need to make sure that
the referendum goes ahead on 27 June in spite of these
Mambetaliev was very confident that
Kyrgyzstans economy would move forward despite the
political crisis, although other observers warned that
investors would be cautious.
The provisional government led Roza Otunbayeva assumed
office in Bishkek last month after confrontations between
demonstrators and police in which at least 85 people died.
Bakiyev resigned and fled to Belarus.
Mambetaliev said the new constitution is designed to prevent
personality cults and single-party
rule. The draft document envisages an upper limit of 50%
on the number of seats in parliament held by any party.
Next months referendum is likely to make
Kyrgyzstans presidency constitutionally the weakest in
any central Asian state. It will be followed by parliamentary
elections on 10 October.
The process of restoring order is being followed closely by
China, Russia and the EU, and the issue dominated the regular
EU-central Asia ministerial meeting, held in Tashkent last
week. Catherine Ashton, the EU High Commissioner for Foreign
Affairs, said afterwards that European leaders had emphasised
the need for a clear roadmap for the return to a
democratic and constitutional order and were encouraged
by the initial announcements from Bishkek.
The return of political stability is vital to
Kyrgyzstans relatively open economy, which relies heavily
on its position as a trade hub and on exports of textiles and
Kyrgyzstan is vulnerable to capital flight and the
interruption of inward investment, Kumar Bekbolotov, director
of the Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek, warned.
There is bound to be a disruption of economic
processes, he told Emerging Markets.
Investment flows are likely to be down this year. The
provisional governments capacity to manage the economy is
fragile. It is in need of international support.
Ambassador Mambetaliev said Kyrgyzstan had to make use of
such advantages as WTO membership and its position on the
silk road trade route between China and the west.
The governments priorities must be to fulfil its
obligations to foreign companies working in the country, and to
simplify the tax system for new entrants, he added.