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Violence fears over Kyrgystan referendum

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Violence fears over Kyrgystan referendum


The streets are quiet in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgystan. But heavy security surrounds preparations for a landmark referendum on a new constitution.

The OSCE says security concerns mean it is not sending a 300-strong team of observers.

Most people say they will vote but are not sure this will bring political stablity.

“Maybe things will get better if we have a parliament, but somehow I doubt it.” one man told reporters. “Of course I will vote and I will get everyone else I know to vote as well. The country needs stability and the people should be in charge of their own future.” said a female lecturer who was interviewed. “I think the interim government has learnt from the mistakes made by the previous administration. I hope things will be better than before.” was the opinion of another.

The new constitution would reduce the powers of the President and create the first parliamentary republic in Central Asia. But experts warn proceeding with the vote could make the volatile situation in Kyrgystan even worse.

In the southern city of Osh, the search continues for those killed in recent clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks.

There are 82 polling stations in the city – but none in Uzbek neighbourhoods. Mobile ballot boxes will be delivered by the security forces – who many blame for the violence.

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