Kyrgyz government resigns following referendum

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BISHKEK, Oct 24 (Reuters) Kyrgyzstan's government resigned today, in line with requirements set by a new constitution adopted at a referendum last weekend.

The United States has criticised Kyrgyzstan for failing to meet international standards during Sunday's vote, which strengthened President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's authority in the impoverished Central Asian state.

''As you know the government has to resign according to the constitution,'' Bakiyev told a government meeting.

''Today I signed a decree on the resignation of the government to comply with this requirement.'' Bakiyev said the prime minister and his cabinet will retain their seats in an acting capacity until a new parliament is elected in a snap vote set for December 16. The chamber will then propose a new government lineup for Bakiyev's approval.

Kyrgyzstan's last parliamentary election in early 2005 led to violent protests that toppled long-serving leader Askar Akayev and brought Bakiyev to power.

The ex-Soviet state, home to a US and a Russian military base, has been volatile since then, and Bakiyev's unresolved stand-off with a parliament packed with Akayev-era deputies has fuelled instability.

In the referendum, voters also backed separate amendments to change the election process from a single-constituency system to a proportional all-party list, in what should help the pro-presidential Ak Zhol party gain a footing in parliament.

REUTERS ARB SSC1310

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