Uzbekistan Referendum 2023; Strategic Significance

It seems that Central Asian Region is under rigorous socio-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic “realignment” and “transformation”. The president of Uzbekistan Mirziyoyev started a “holistic” and comprehensive process of further “politicization” and “democratization” in the country since 2016.

In this regard, hopefully, the successful referendum to be held on April 30, 2023 would further incorporate spirits of fair-play, political diversity, administrative openness, transparency, electoral free & fair orientations along with induction of good & corporate governance in the decision making from top to bottom.

Uzbekistan

The western media as usual has been disseminating false, fake and fictional propaganda about the proposed political change in the country since last year and terming it “One Person” specific just to provide constitutional cover for further political survival which is absolutely “untrue” and “unreal”.

Constructional amendments: 

Contrary to its tall claims of one person specific constructional amendments, according to latest official news and statements more than “65 percent or 2/3 part” of the current constitution is going to be rewritten, “redrafted” and “reapproved” through “legitimate” holding of referendum which is not “ultra-constructional” act because its provisions permit the incumbent government to exercise it through seeking massive political/electoral activity/verdict from its people.

The Republic of Uzbekistan has its own “unique” but integrated, interactive, coordinated and holistic democratic system in its country which is “people’s friendly”. Therefore, the ongoing Western false propaganda campaigns are based on its “resumption of guilt, “political prejudice” and “social hatred”.

Governance system:    

Every country has its own governing system and democratic norms which may be vary from the so-called western civilized and democratic countries. But still countries of the Central Asian Region are democratic in all respect and the Republic of Uzbekistan is not any exception. So please they should stop undue and unjust political and “electoral aggregation” against Uzbekistan’s referendum which will be held on April 30, 2023 with “absolute freedom” of choice of the voters in the country. In this regard, there has not been a single incident of pre-referendum rigging or political engineering in the country.

In order the pursue desired constitutional changes through country-wide gross-root politicization and democratization most recent the Uzbek president Mirziyoyev presided with deputies from the Oliy Majlis’ Legislative Chamber (lower chamber of parliament) and Senate (upper chamber) as well as the leadership of the country’s Supreme Court and considered the results of public feedback on constitutional amendments.

According the president’s office, more than 200,000 proposals were submitted and considered. It has been comprehensive consultative exercise of several months which vividly reflects the collective political wisdom, maturity, electoral diversity and last but not least administrative superior skills of its people, organizations, think tanks, forums and media to further transform it state, society and system alike.

Read More about Uzbekistan’s draft constitution extends the presidential term from 5 to 7 years:https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/others/uzbekistans-draft-constitution-extends-the-presidential-term-from-5-to-7-years/ar-AA18FU0C 

Interestingly, in this lengthy process, the parliament and the government, members of the public freely express their valuable proposals and opinions on the draft law.” Separately, Uzbekistan’s Constitutional Court will also weigh in and shared its suggestions.

Referendum in Uzbekistan: 

In this regard, Uzbekistan’s has approved the lower house’s decision to hold a referendum on the country’s new draft constitution on April 30. Earlier, the upper house approved a bill on the country’s new constitution that had been passed by the Legislative Chamber (lower house) on March 10.

According to president office, the new proposed constitution will have 155 articles instead of the current 128. The number of constitutional norms will also be increased from 275 to 434 which clearly reflects quantum social, political, economic and administrative refinement and qualitative & quantitative readjustment  in the constitution on part of the policy makers, members parliament and the public alike.

Under the proposed new constitution, the president, speakers of both houses of parliament, chairperson of the Supreme Court, chairperson and deputy chair of the Supreme Judicial Council, chairperson of the Central Election Commission, prosecutor general, and several other officials would be barred from holding office for more than two consecutive terms which has political and administrative sense and maturity.

Constitutional reform:

The constitutional reform was initiated by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in December 2021. In May 2022, Uzbekistan’s parliament set up a commission to draft amendments to the 1992 constitution.

The president also came out with an initiative to hold a nationwide referendum on the constitutional amendments. The nationwide discussion of the bill on constitutional amendments was initially slated to last until July 4, 2022, but was extended following mass riots on July 1 and 2 in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan.

Afterwards, President Mirziyoyev wisely decided against introducing amendments that would have stripped Karakalpakstan of its status as a sovereign republic within Uzbekistan and the right to leave Uzbekistan based on a secession referendum.

Social state: 

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 which would provide ample time to implement all the structural reforms for the complete socio-economic and political transformation in the country. Moreover, it would sense of stability which would foster economic sustainability in the country in the longer run.

Read More about Kazakhstan parliamentary elections: https://youthdiplomacyforum.com/2023/03/21/kazakhstan-parliamentary-elections/

Uzbek lawmakers have agreed to hold a referendum on a new constitution that would allow President Shavkat Mirziyoev to run for a third term in office.

The amendments changing the constitution are expected to be approved in the referendum by a majority. The referendum, on April 30 will be the third referendum in the history of independent Uzbekistan.

Conclusion:

To conclude, the lawmakers of both houses of the Uzbek parliament rightly termed the proposed constitution changes as “historic” and an important stage in the building of “Uzbek statehood”.

It seems that it will definitely change the old political doctrine from “State-Society-Person” to a new one of “Person-Society-State” in true terms and will be beneficial for achieving the desired goals of socio-economic prosperity and political stability in the days to come.

The proposed changes also plans to make Uzbekistan a “social state” where “the human being, his life, his freedom, his honor and his dignity are the supreme values which are commendable. It would start a “new chapter” in the political history of modern Uzbekistan leading towards “New Uzbekistan, New Priorities and New Social Realities”.

Most recently, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a meeting with deputies of the Legislative Chamber, members of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, and the leadership of the Supreme Court and finalized the details of proposed changes in the current constitution.

Interestingly, the deputies directly received more than 200000 proposals from the common people. Interestingly, the international experience had been taken into account, leading specialists and experts from various sectors were involved.

Following several months of study, the final edition of the draft constitutional law on introducing amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was prepared.

Since the draft law contains the most important changes in the socio-economic, political spheres and public administration, deputies are consulting with the legislative initiative subjects defined in Article 83 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan before introducing it to the referendum.

In this process, the Parliament and Government, public representatives are expressing their proposals and opinions on the draft law.

Uzbekistan’s referendum to be held on April 30, 2023 would be start of new era of “Social Cohesion”, “Political Manifestation”, Ethnic Diversity”, “Administrative Overhauling” with new structural reforms, governing systems, SOPs, people’s friendly policies, programs and projects to achieve the ultimate goals of “New Uzbekistan”, socially articulated, politically matured and economic vibrant.

This article is written by Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Executive Director: The Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad

Regional Expert: Uzbekistan & CIS

Kazakhstan

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