Medvedev Pooh-Poohs Kyrgyz Democracy
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev isn't a fan of parliamentary democracy, but rather favors a strong central president. In the case of Kyrgyzstan, he warned, yesterday's apparently successful constitutional referendum establishing a strong parliament and cropping the powers of the executive, the first such system in Central Asia, may lead to the "collapse of the state." He said democracy in Kyrgyzstan may bring extremists, presumably of the Islamic variety, to power, Reuters reported.
"I don't really understand how a parliamentary republic would look and work in Kyrgyzstan. Will this not help those with extremist views to power? This concerns me," Medvedev told reporters in Toronto, where he was attending the G20 summit.
But Interim President Roza Otunbayeva said voters had chosen to abandon a system that engendered dictators.The Central Elections Commission announced that nearly 70 percent of voters turned out on Sunday. Early figures suggest emphatic support for the new constitution and keeping Roza Otunabayeva as president for 18 months. Yet voters told EurasiaNet they were simply voting for "peace and stability," seemingly unaware of the new constitution's terms, suggesting the parliamentary system does indeed have a struggle ahead.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.