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Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan): Constitutional Amendments Passed on Election System

(Dec. 2, 2007) On October 21, 2007, a national referendum was held in Kyrgyzstan to adopt constitutional amendments designed, according to President Bakiev, to "resolve problems of tribalism, gender inequality, and under-representation of ethnic minorities." These amendments establish a new proportional electoral system, under which the parliament will be formed by political parties nominating nation-wide lists of candidates. In order to expand the participation of women, young people, and minorities in political life, a newly adopted constitutional provision requires that a list of candidates include no more than 70 percent of people of the same sex, no less than 15 percent of people under 35 years of age, and no less than 15 percent of individuals belonging to various ethnic groups. Another amendment prohibits the president of the country from being a member of any political party. It states that in order to treat all political forces equally, the president will suspend his party affiliation. (Kyrgyz Referendum Adopts New Constitutional Amendments, 11:194 RADIO FREE EUROPE RADIO LIBERTY NEWSLINE, Part I, Oct. 22, 2007.)