New Kyrgyz Constitution could fuel extremism: Medvedev

Kyrgyzstan has been wracked by violence between Kyrgyz, ethnic Uzbek groups.

Toronto: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that Kyrgyzstan`s vote to adopt a new parliamentary constitution could fuel extremism in the volatile central Asian state.

"I have a hard time imagining that a parliamentary republic could work in Kyrgyzstan, that it won`t provoke a series of problems and encourage the rise to power of extremist forces," Medvedev told reporters at the G20 summit.

Earlier an overwhelming 90 per cent of Kyrgyz voters have given the thumbs up to radical changes in the country`s new Constitution, under which they will switch over to parliamentary democracy, even as Russia warned that the Central Asian country could collapse, allowing extremists to take over.

According to preliminary results announced by the Kyrgyz election commission, 90.84 per cent voters approved the amendments to the Constitution, whereas 7.84 per cent voted against it after ballots from 90 per cent of polling stations were counted.

The referendum also approved interim leader Roza
Otunbayeva, who claimed power after overthrowing former
president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, as President until 2011

Some 2.7 million people were eligible to vote, and
turnout was nearly 70 per cent.

Sunday`s referendum followed several days of ethnic
violence in the south of the country earlier in the month and
7,500 police were deployed to ensure security during the poll,
which officials said passed off with no major disturbances.

"Kyrgyzstan is confronted by many problems, notably the threat of breaking up. To avoid this you need a strong, well-organised authority," Medvedev said further.

In recent weeks, Kyrgyzstan has been wracked by large-scale violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups that left hundreds dead and increased tensions just two months after the previous government was overthrown by rioters.

In a referendum yesterday, Kyrgyz voters overwhelmingly backed moves to establish a parliamentary democracy, according to the interim government which came to power after the April putsch.

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet republic and Russia still wields major influence there, maintaining a military base and close economic ties.


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