Uzbekistan to hold referendum on constitutional amendments on April 30

05 Apr 2023 05:20pm
Uzbek ambassador to Malaysia Ravshan Usmanov during his meeting with Karangkraf Media Group advisor Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub today. - Pic by ASRIL ASWANDI SHUKOR
Uzbek ambassador to Malaysia Ravshan Usmanov during his meeting with Karangkraf Media Group advisor Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub today. - Pic by ASRIL ASWANDI SHUKOR

SHAH ALAM - Uzbekistan is set to vote on a series of amendments to the country's constitution on April 30.

Uzbek ambassador to Malaysia Ravshan Usmanov said the reforms will be put to the country in a referendum for the approval of Uzbekistan's citizens.

"Under the proposed reforms, the constitution will commit the state to greater protection of human rights, fair and open democratic values, and equality in Uzbekistan's diverse multi-faith and multi-ethnic population

"In this regard it is obvious that the referendum will be the most important political event in the life of the citizens of Uzbekistan this year." he told Sinar Daily.

He further elaborated that more than 220,000 proposals were received with the number of articles in the constitution rising to 155 from 128.

It was reported that the constitutional amendments were designed to enshrine the principles of the rule of law, democratic representation, the separation of powers, and a strengthened civil society.

In addition, the reforms support economic development in a secure investment and entrepreneurial environment, and establish important environmental protections.

Usmanov also explained that the reforms to the constitution also seeks to strengthens the role of Parliament.

"Under the reform, the powers of the Legislative House and the Senate are significantly expanded and their respective areas of responsibility are clearly defined.

"The most important priority in the reform process however covers the basic and personal rights and freedoms of the country's citizens. This is where the state places importance of the rights of the person," he explained.

He added that the scope of constitutional rights will basically cover environmental rights, health, gender equality, free movement, free choice of place of domicile and residence, free exit from the country and return, use of the Internet, protection of personal data, higher education, free legal aid and equal access to public services.

Another important highlight of the document was its provisions for the protection of the environment, an area in which the responsibility of the government covers the conservation of biodiversity and the fight against climate change, as well as the need for the authorities to publicly discuss urban plans with the population.

Usmanov said that the Uzbekistan embassy in Malaysia will serve as a voting centre for the Uzbek community here at the end of this month to vote on whether they agree to the reforms.

In March after a detailed article-by-article study of all proposed additions and amendments to the current constitution of Uzbekistan, the Parliament decided to schedule a national referendum on the new version of the country's basic law for April 30.

The amendments were initiated by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in December 2021.

The amendments suggest declaring Uzbekistan a "social state" and decreasing the number of lawmakers in Uzbekistan's upper chamber of Parliament, the Senate, from 100 to 65.

The proposed changes would also extend the presidential term to seven years from five.

Earlier, Usmanov paid a visit to Karangkraf Media Group advisor Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub and toured the Karangkraf complex.