18 Jul 2022 13:10

OSCE experts to become familiar with organization of preparations for referendum on constitutional amendments during visit to Uzbekistan - Uzbek CEC

TASHKENT. July 18 (Interfax) - Experts of the Needs Assessment Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will visit Uzbekistan in connection with the upcoming referendum on constitutional amendments, the press service for the Uzbek Central Elections Commission (CEC) said on Monday.

"A visit by experts of the OSCE ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission is expected on July 19-22 in connection with the upcoming nationwide referendum on the draft constitutional law of the Republic of Uzbekistan On Changes and Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan," the report said.

According to the CEC, the purpose of the Needs Assessment Mission is to become familiar with the organization of the work to prepare for and organize the referendum, as well as to analyze if the national legislation on referenda meets the universally accepted international standards.

"The OSCE ODIHR will decide on the expediency of monitoring the upcoming nationwide referendum, its format, duration and the needed number of monitors," the report said.

Experts of the mission will meet with the CEC chairman and representatives of some ministries and agencies and mass media during the visit, the CEC press service said.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev called for amending the constitution in December 2021. He referred to public opinion and said it was necessary to augment the constitution.

Under a parliamentary resolution, the bill was to be discussed by the public until July 5 and then will be proposed for referendum. Later, the lower house of the Uzbek parliament decided to extend the timeline of the discussions until July 15 and then until August 1.

The draft law envisages more than 200 amendments to 64 articles of the Uzbek Constitution. These new rules include the extension of the presidential term from five to seven years, death penalty abolition, and a ban on extradition of Uzbek citizens to a foreign state.

President Mirziyoyev said during a visit to Nukus (the capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, northwestern Uzbekistan), where riots took place on July 1-2 over constitutional amendments, that the draft law on amendments will be adjusted after a nationwide debate and will only be put up for a referendum after that.

The current constitution was adopted by Uzbekistan's Supreme Council on December 8, 1992, and has since been amended 15 times.