( RIA Novosti ) - Opposition in Kyrgyzstan, which has been locked in political turmoil, has initiated a nationwide referendum to join the union of Russia and Belarus, an opposition party said Thursday.
After the initiative has been registered with the Justice Ministry, its authors will be allowed to start collecting signatures, with 300, 000 being the minimum. The decision was made June 2 on the initiative of the United Front, led by an ex-premier and the president's former ally, Felix Kulov, and other opposition parties.
Ivan Makushok, spokesman for the state secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union State, said Kyrgyzstan could be accepted into the alliance.
"Such proposals are fairly legal and welcomed by the permanent committee of the Union State," Makushok said, adding it did not contradict the fundamental agreement on the union.
But he warned that it was premature to discuss the trilateral union. "The Kyrgyz head of state is skeptical about this referendum," he said. "If it is held and the people of Kyrgyzstan express support for such a union, the head of state will have to send relevant documents to the presidents of Russia and Belarus."
The impoverished Central Asian state has been deadlocked in a political crisis since confrontation between the president and parliament resulted in Kulov's resignation in February.
The opposition is accusing President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of failing to improve living standards, curb corruption and bring democracy, and has organized protests demanding his resignation and early elections.