11/08/2006, 00.00
Kyrgyzstan

Government and opposition announce deal on new constitution

Draft compromise should end street demonstrations. But the president, whom the opposition wants to resign, has not yet said whether he accepts the changes or not.

Bishek (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Kyrgyzstan's government has struck a deal on constitutional reform that had flared into clashes. But it was not immediately clear if President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who has been accused of corruption and nepotism, would agree to Tuesday's compromise deal which would amend the constitution to reduce his powers.

Several thousand people had demonstrated calling for the president's resignation. Riot police used tear gas to break up fighting between pro- and anti-Bakiyev supporters. Six people were taken to hospital.

Still some protesters camped out in a square in the capital until they get the president's resignation.

The political crisis has destabilised Kyrgyzstan, a strategically important part of Central Asia region where China, Russia and the US jostle for influence.

The proposed draft constitution should end the confrontation. It strips the president of his right to dissolve parliament and gives parliament the power to appoint the prime minister and cabinet

Bakiyev's office has so far made no comment on the deal. But if two thirds of the 75-seat chamber approves the new constitution, under law the president will have to accept it.

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