Natalie Sullivan, Assistant News Editor, @nhillsullivan
On June 3, 2013, Muktar Djumaliev, ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States and Canada, visited Utah Valley University to deliver a lecture to students focused on the challenges and opportunities faced by political reforms in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan, once under Soviet leadership, adopted a new constitution on May 5, 1993. Since then, several dramatic changes and amendments have been made to the constitution.
Ambassador Djumaliev’s lecture presented a history of these reforms since Spring 2005, which encompassed a dramatic tug of war between parliamentary and presidential power with each reform to the constitution
In 2005, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s presidential power was significantly scaled back after the he was forced to sign the constitution.
Later in December of 2006, under threat of dissolution, President Bakiyev forced parliamentarians to adopt the new edition of the constitution, which returned back to him his lost power.
Prior to the 2010 constitution, Ambassador Djumaliev also relayed a quote by Venice Commission Experts that, “In fact, the presidential authorities were almost unlimited in that there is a small separation of powers…”
According to Ambassador Djumaliev, this forced adoption in the constitution resulted in the Kyrgyz community recognizing that “Bakiyev deluded everyone.”
Questions by the audience related the U.S. Constitution to the struggles and reforms of the Kyrgyz constitution, including whether or not Kyrgyzstan currently has a document protecting the basic rights of citizens.
“In the issues of the rights of citizens, all necessary conditions for better protecting the interest of the nation and state, human rights and freedoms were created,” Ambassador Djumaliev replied.
Yet the Ambassador was also clear that no Kyrgyz document exists in the same way as the American Bill of Rights.
However since the enactment of the 2010 constitution, Kyrgyzstan is declared a parliamentary system with progress in forming a balance of powers.
“Representatives of all segments took part in working out the draft of the constitution,” said Ambassador Djumaliev.
Djamaliev related his belief of wide opportunities for significant reform in the Kyrgyz judicial system, including the existence of new procedures for selecting and appointing judges. He then urged the global importance of reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic.
“The development ways of most of Central Asian countries depend on the success of the Kyrgyz project,” said Djumaliev.
He then concluded that the current constitution is aimed on following and protecting the interests of Kyrgystan and that to learn to live by the constitution is a vital need we all need to learn and experience.