Kyrgyzstan: Lawmakers approve election delay and constitutional overhaul

Kyrgyzstan: Lawmakers approve election delay and constitutional overhaul

Parliament in Kyrgyzstan has voted to postpone parliamentary elections and approved a proposal to overhaul the constitution, setting the stage for rival political forces to haggle furiously over how the country is to be run in future, Eurasianet reports.

The bill adopted on October 22 means that do-over parliamentary elections to make up for the now-nixed vote from earlier this month could take place as late as the start of June 2021, instead of by December 20, as was previously required. Of the 120 sitting members of parliament, 83 voted in favor of the bill.

A note attached to the bill on delaying the elections stated that the proposal was motivated by a desire to “stabilize the social, political, epidemiological and economic situation in the country, and also to increase the trust of citizens in the elections.”

Numerous fixes to election laws adopted by parliament mean the elections are bound to produce a far different legislature than the one that would have emerged from the October 4 polls, which gave a crushing majority to a trio of pro-government, status quo parties.

One provision will ensure that parties will only need to overcome a threshold of 3 percent of votes cast to enter parliament, rather than the 7 percent required previously. Another change will reduce the size of the deposit contender parties must pay to the election commission from 5 million som ($62,000) to 1 million som.

Another potentially contentious amendment will scrap the Forma-2 ballot, which was a procedure whereby people could cast their vote at a precinct not in their place of residence. This provision is intended to account for the vast scale of internal migration, but election monitors say it left the system open to vote-buying. Scrapping of Forma-2 will placate critics, but it means many voters living because of work far from their official registered place of residence may end up being disenfranchised.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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