More than 25% of electors cast their votes at Kyrgyzstan referendum
More than a quarter of Kyrgyz electors have cast their votes at a referendum on a new constitution in Kyrgyzstan intended to give more power to parliament and test public confidence in the interim government, the central election commission said on Sunday, RİA Novosti reported.
The polls are taking place despite recent inter-ethnic clashes in the republic. The riots, which began in the country's southern city of Osh on June 11 and spread to nearby Jalalabad region, have claimed the lives of more than 270 people, according to official estimates. Kyrgyz officials acknowledge that the real death toll may be ten times higher.
According to the latest data reported by the country's election authorities, the highest turnout in the referendum was registered in the Issyk Kul region in eastern Kyrgyzstan where 31.76% of electors had cast their votes by now while the lowest turnout was seen in the southern Osh and Jalalabad regions, the areas of recent ethnic clashes, where only 22.12% and 23.2% of electors, respectively, had come to the polling stations.
A total of 2,767,000 Kyrgyz citizens eligible for voting have an opportunity to vote to curtail the president's powers and convert Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary republic, the commission said.
A total of 189 observers from 18 international organizations, including the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will monitor the polls, the central election commission's spokeswoman said.
Kyrgyzstan will become a parliamentary republic if half of the voters plus one support the government's proposal.
The interim government led by Roza Otunbayeva came to power in Kyrgyzstan amid April's large-scale opposition protests, which overthrew president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The ousted Kyrgyz leader has fled the country and taken refuge in Belarus.
A total of 2,281 polling stations will be open across Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, and 38 more will wait for Kyrgyz citizens abroad. Around 7.5 thousand police officers and the same number of voluntary helpers are deployed to ensure security during the vote.