BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan will hold elections on October 10 after a referendum aimed at reducing the powers of the president, the interim government said on Thursday.
The interim government has struggled to restore order after an April 7 uprising ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, leaving at least 85 people dead and disrupting flights through a key U.S. airbase supporting operations in Afghanistan.
Omurbek Tekebayev, a deputy prime minister who is in charge of constitutional reform, said joint parliamentary and presidential elections could take place on October 10 after a referendum on constitutional change to be held on June 27.
“A referendum will take place on June 27 and parliamentary elections on October 10, possibly jointly presidential,” Tekebayev said by telephone. “The government has approved the timetable.”
Tekebayev has said the government plans to reduce the power of the president and create a parliamentary republic with strong checks and balances.
But diplomats say that the new leaders of Kyrgyzstan will have an uphill battle to create a beacon of democracy in Central Asia, a region dominated by authoritarian leaders.
Bakiyev, in Belarus after fleeing Kyrgyzstan last week, claims he is still president. The interim government says he has resigned, but has not appointed a replacement.
Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Conor Humphries