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Kyrgyzstan: President Takes No Hostages in Rambling Presser

In his latest marathon press conference, Kyrgyzstan’s president spoke in favor of proposed constitutional reforms, lashed out at criticism from Turkey and had yet another pop at the United States.

Almazbek Atambayev has taken a leaf out of his Russian counterpart’s books by holding regular hours-long meetings with the press in which he rarely fails to jar some sensibilities.

The focus this year was on wide-ranging constitutional reforms that would if approved bolster the role of the executive — the prime minister’s office, in other words. The plan is to eventually submit the changes to a national referendum. Suggestions that the constitution is to be modified are particularly contentious as previous changes made in 2010 included provisions for the document to remain untouched at least until 2020.

Speculation is that Atambayev may seek to extend his rule by slotting in the prime minister’s seat, but he offered less than emphatic reassurances on that front.

“If I wanted to stay in power, I would have done it without parliament. I would have had no trouble doing it through a referendum by popular initiative,” he said.

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Kyrgyzstan: President Takes No Hostages in Rambling Presser

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