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Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

[05.05.2OO3] Kyrgyzstan Marks the 10th Anniversary of Its First Post-Soviet Constitution

Kyrgyzstanis celebrated the 10th anniversary of their post-Soviet constitution today. President Askar Akaev, Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev and other members of the Kyrgyz government, lawmakers, judges and politicians attended a meeting devoted to the celebration. President Akaev praised the first post-Soviet constitution adopted by the legendary single-chamber parliament on May 5, 1993, as the powerful first signs for democratic processes in the country. The speaker of the Legislative Assembly (lower chamber) of the current Kyrgyz parliament, Abdygany Erkebayev, told the gathering that the former parliament members, including the former speaker, Medetkan Sherimkulov, contributed to the constitutional reforms and then he became, as Erkebaev puts it, "the victim of the political struggle".
Professor Sherimkulov himself, one of the main contenders for presidency in the 1995 elections, told the meeting that some articles of the current Constitution might be used either to strengthen an authoritarian regime or maintain the democratic path chosen by Kyrgyzstan at the beginning of 1990s.
Kyrgyzstan adopted a new version of the constitution by a referendum held on February 2, this year. There were four more changes and amendments to the post-Soviet Main law. Some observers say that the first version of the Constitution adopted ten years ago after the nation-wide debates and publication of several alternate draft versions, were much more democratic, than the changes and amendments that led to strengthen president's power afterwards.
Even now, some ideas of the constitution, namely, the equality of legislative, jurisdictional and executive branches of power, are not being fulfilled yet.
Feliks Kulov, former vice-president and one of the democratic leaders of the country in 1991-1994, is currently serving a jail term. Opposition says the court processes against Kulov were politically motivated and designed to remove one of Akayev's challengers out of political scene.
RFE/RL Kyrgyz News, May 05, 2003

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