Kyrgyz leader dissolves parliament after referendum

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BISHKEK, Oct 22 (Reuters) Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev dissolved parliament today in a widely expected move that followed a weekend referendum on constitutional amendments.

Kyrgyzstan, home to a US and a Russian military base, has been plagued by instability since 2005 when protests ousted veteran leader Askar Akayev and brought Bakiyev to power.

Ever since, Bakiyev has sought to dissolve parliament, packed with deputies elected in a disputed poll under Akayev's rule.

Yesterday's referendum paved the way for him to do so.

''The main reason for the dissolution is a contradiction between various branches of power,'' said a presidential press service official.

The official added Bakiyev had signed an order to dissolve parliament but had yet to set a date for a snap election.

More than 75 per cent of voters cast their ballots in favour of constitutional changes that broaden responsibilities of parliament while boosting Bakiyev's hold on power.

The opposition called it a step towards authoritarianism because it believes the changes give Bakiyev too much power.

Voters also approved separate amendments raising the number of parliamentary deputies and changing the election process from a single-constituency system to a proportional all-party list.

Analysts believe the move would help the newly formed pro-presidential Ak Zhol party gain a power base in the chamber.

REUTERS SS KN1204

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