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Kyrgyz voters approve new constitution - interim leader

RIA Novosti

21:19 27/06/2010 BISHKEK, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan's voters approved on Sunday a new constitution for the country, interim leader Roza Otunbayeva said.

She also said the referendum had confirmed the legitimacy of her leadership and vowed to form a new cabinet in the near future.

"Today we adopted the new constitution. The referendum was held, despite the difficulties and fierce resistance from opponents of the new constitution," Otunbayeva told reporters.

"I now receive the president's powers for the transition period and will also lead the government," she added.

Otunbayeva has led the Central Asian country since President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted amid violent protests in April. Bakiyev himself replaced President Askar Akayev in 2006 following the so-called tulip revolution.

"The people have put a big fat period to the era of authoritarian rule by two clans - the Akayevs and Bakiyevs," Otunbayeva told reporters.

The Central Election Commission said preliminary data showed turnout was more than 65 percent, and early returns had 64 percent of ballots cast in favor of the new constitution.

The referendum was held despite several days of deadly ethnic violence earlier in the month, but the authorities said voting passed off peacefully.

The new constitution significantly weakens the president's power, turning Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary republic.

The parliament will have 120 deputies elected through party lists, and will approve the prime minister and cabinet. The president will have a largely ceremonial role and will be elected for one six-year term.

Otunbayeva said parliamentary elections would be held soon, but the presidential elections are due in late 2011 and she is due to step down when the new president is inaugurated in January 2012.

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