Uzbekistan closes public consultation period on constitutional reform, previously extended over unrest in Karakalpakstan

By Eurasianet, 2 August
Flag of Uzbekistan (photo credit: pixabay / OpenClipart-Vectors)
Flag of Uzbekistan (photo credit: pixabay / OpenClipart-Vectors)
Uzbekistan has closed the public consultation period for a planned overhaul of the constitution – a process that would have ended in early July but for a bout of unrest in the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. When the draft document was published online on June 25, the public was given a 10-day window to make their own counterproposals. That deadline was extended to August 1 following events in Karakalpakstan. A government commission on the constitution has said that parliamentary committees will now review the feedback and make changes accordingly. The proposed, new-look constitution published in June was sold as an effort to make the state more compassionate and democratic. But officials appeared not to have anticipated how much anger would be provoked by one planned provision – crafted without even the semblance of consulting the public – that envisioned the semi-autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan losing its constitutional right to hold a referendum on secession. That privilege, the fruit of a 1993 deal between the Karakalpak government and Tashkent, has never been invoked, but the high-handed manner of its removal nevertheless generated much bitterness. Following deadly protests in early July, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, 65, hurriedly announced that the amendments concerning Karakalpakstan would be scrapped. The extension of the consultation period looks like the Uzbek government’s attempt to show it is now taking a different tack. It remains uncertain, though, just how transparently lawmakers – and the government officials to whom they are ultimately beholden – intend to go about integrating the public feedback into the amended constitution.
Read the full article here: Eurasianet

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