MISSING: Kyrgyzstan Has No Clue Where Its Constitution Is

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov (C) poses with Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev (L) and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev while wearing presented wheat wreaths in Akmola region, near the town of Kokshetau in northern Kazakhstan, August 27, 1993. Picture taken August 27, 1993. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Politicians in Kyrgyzstan can’t find the country’s constitution.

The Kyrgyz parliament noticed the document was lost during a debate on whether to allow another referendum in December, which could result in a constitutional amendment.

According to critics of the current regime, however, the Constitution is not actually missing, and the “mystery” is a false flag event meant to distract the population from concerns over proposed constitutional amendments.

Kyrgyzstan has experienced political turmoil in recent years, including a 2010 revolution, when activists stormed the parliament and overthrew the president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

A new version of the Constitution was approved by referendum after the 2010 upheaval, providing additional checks on the power of the president, and gave more authority to the parliament.

The proposed amendments to the constitution would grant more power to the prime minister, and take away power from the parliament. Critics of the current administration are suspicious that the incumbent president, Almazbek Atambayev, who is constitutionally limited to one term (ending in 2017), may be wrangling to ensure that his handpicked successor follows him as president.

Some government officials claim a draft of the Constitution was adopted by referendum, while an actual signed version does not exist. Farid Niyazov, head of the president’s administration, told news that although the new Constitution was approved by referendum, nobody ever quite got around to signing it.

“In any other country, of course, after the announcement of a public vote, the head of state should endorse the approved text,” he said. “But it so happens that this text has no signature.”

The parliament overwhelmingly approved the second reading of a bill to hold a referendum in December — the vote is extremely likely to go ahead despite confusion over the location and existence of the 2010 Constitution.

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Tags : kyrgyzstan
Ted Goodman