(Update 1: Adds preliminary results, alters headline and lede)
Moscow, Apr 11 (EFE).- Kyrgyz voters on Sunday overwhelmingly backed constitutional amendments that will see the former Soviet republic move away from a parliamentary system to a presidential regime.
The country’s electoral commission said that with 80% of the referendum ballots counted, around 79% of voters opted to change the political system while some 13.5% opposed it.
The referendum could also see the parliament downsized from 120 to 90 lawmakers.
Once the changes are implemented, presidents of the Central Asian republic, including incumbent Sadyr Japarov, will be allowed to run for a five-year term of office twice, instead of a single six-year term.
Japarov rose to power during the October 2020 revolution and won a landslide victory with almost 80% of the votes in the January elections.
International organizations have criticized the constitutional amendments adopted by the parliament a few months ago for granting vast powers to the president, especially because it comes ahead of snap legislative elections scheduled for June 2021.
The results of the October 2020 parliamentary elections were annulled after mass protests broke out in the country amid reports of election fraud from the opposition.
The parliamentary system was the reason why many organizations, analysts, and politicians in the West considered Kyrgyzstan the most democratic country in Central Asia.
A total of 3.6 million citizens were eligible to cast their ballots in more than 2,400 polling stations across the country, according to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).EFE