Violence fears, as Kyrgyzstan votes on new Constitution‎

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Violence fears, as Kyrgyzstan votes on new Constitution‎

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Kyrgyzstan’s interim leader has voted in a referendum on the country’s constitution.

Security was tight, when Roza Otunbayeva cast her ballot in Osh, the epicentre of a wave of ethnic violence earlier this month.

A yes outcome in the referendum would devolve power from the president to the prime minister and pave the way for parliamentary elections in October.

It would also legitimise the interim government, which has been in charge since President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a revolt in April.

At least 275 people died in the violence this month in the south of the country, particularly in Osh. Relations between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks are still tense.

In the capital, Bishkek, constitutional reform is expected to find support. Many said they voted to end the chaos.

Bishkek resident Onara Sadygaliyeva said: “We vote for peace and stability in Kyrgyzstan, for prosperity and integrity, for calm, and we want our new government to guarantee this stability.”

Roza Otunbayeva had faced calls to delay the referendum because of the violence. But she refused to heed them, saying this would cause even more instability.