Kyrgyz leader backs down amid protests

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Kyrgyz leader backs down amid protests

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President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has put pen to paper on a compromise constitution aimed at ending weeks of unrest in Kyrgyzstan. The text curtails the powers of the president. He can no longer dissolve parliament or nominate a prime minister. This right goes to the chamber’s largest party.

Bakiyev described it as “a new step in developing democracy”.

“There are no losers here. We are all trying to reach a consensus on constitutional reform,” he said.

The document turns Kyrgyzstan into the first Central Asian state where parliament has powerful checks and balances on the president.

The opposition had accused Bakiyev of backtracking on his commitment to press ahead with reform.

People have been expressing relief that a crisis appears to have been averted.

“The main thing is we have peace,” one woman said.

For now the country is witnessing a party mood, at least among opposition supporters. But further tensions could lie ahead over the future of Prime Minister Felix Kulov, a key Bakiyev ally.