The system of government in the Republic of Uzbekistan is presidential, with a Parliament elected by universal suffrage (hereinafter also "Oliy Majlis" or "Supreme Assembly"). The Constitution was proclaimed on 8 December 1992 and divides State power between the executive, legislative and the judicial branches. The Uzbek Constitution (hereinafter "the Constitution" or "UC") declares the republic as a pluralistic democracy with the people of Uzbekistan as the only source of State power (Article 7, UC). Uzbekistan consists of 12 regions wiloyaltar and one autonomous republic (Republic of Karkalpakstan). The Republic of Karkalpakstan has its own Constitution, however, which may not contradict the Constitution of Uzbekistan.
The Head of State and the head of the executive, is the President. As a result of the referendum held in 2002, the term of office of the President was extended from five years to seven. According to the letter of the Constitution, the President is elected by popular vote. The Constitution vests the President with extensive powers. Amongst others, these powers include appointment and dismissal from office of judges of regional, district, city and commercial courts (Art. 93 (11)). As well as, declaring states of emergency and importantly, issuing decrees, resolutions and orders which have obligatory force over the entire territory of Uzbekistan (Art. 94 UC).
The Constitution ascribes legislative power to the Uzbek Parliament comprising of 250 seats, with members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The parliament meets only a few days per year. The Law "On the Status of Deputies in the Republic of Uzbekistan" organizes the work of the Parliament. This law defines powers of a deputy of the Oliy Majlis, determines his or her relationship with political parties and local authorities, rights and responsibilities within the Parliament as well as within territorial constituencies.
According to the 1992 Constitution the Parliament is unicameral, however, in accordance with the amendments introduced by the referendum in 2002, the structure of the Parliament is to change to bi-cameral with the next parliamentary elections which are due in December 2004. It is planned that the lower chamber of the new bi-cameral parliament will be elected by popular vote and will be responsible for drafting legislation, whereas, the upper chamber (constituting of representatives from the regions of Uzebkistan) will be elected by government bodies. The government will be responsible only to the upper chamber. All legislation drafted by the lower chamber will need to be passed by the upper chamber to become law. The size of the new chambers was not established at the time of the referendum.
Currently, there are 13 committees and 3 commissions in the Parliament. The authorized person of the Oliy Majlis on Human Rights (Ombudsman) is elected from amongst the deputies of the Parliament to coordinate the work of the Commission on observation of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens (which was formed on a voluntary basis). There is no provision in the Constitution on the Office of the Ombudsman.
Executive power is assigned to the President and a Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the President with approval of the Oliy Majlis (Art 98 UC). The Cabinet is tasked with ensuring the implementation of laws and other decision of the Parliament and the decrees, resolutions, and orders of the President. The Cabinet of Ministers is also vested with delegated legislative powers and it may also issue resolutions and orders, having the force of law (Art.98 UC).
In accordance with Article 82 of the Constitution, the right of legislative initiative belongs to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Karakalpakstan in the form of its highest agency of power, parliamentary deputies, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the High Commercial Court, and the Procurator General of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The parliament adopts laws and other normative acts by a majority of votes of the total number of deputies (Art. 83 UC). The Oliy Majlis is in session for only a few days each year. Therefore, in accordance with the powers of the President to issue decrees having the force of law as enshrined in Art. 94 of the Constitution, the majority of laws come into force by way of Presidential decree.
Constitutionally, judicial power is vested in the courts. The principle of independence of the judiciary from both the legislative and executive branches of government has been written into to Art.106, of the Constitution. The judiciary consists of a Constitutional Court, a Supreme Court, a High Commercial Court, a Supreme and High Commercial Court of the Republic of Karakalpastan, as well as regional, Taskent City, district, city, and commercial courts. All judges, including those sitting on the bench of the Constitutional Court are elected for a term of five years (Art. 107 UC). Judges are nominated by the President and elected by Parliament. The President also wields the power of removal of judges from the bench.
TheConstitutional Court of Uzbekistan is tasked with reviewing the constitutionality of all legislative and executive acts. The court does not consider claims made by private persons. Claims may only be filed by the executive or legislative branches of government. Article 93 (10), of the Constitution grants the President the right to nominate potential members of the Constitutional Court and present them to parliament for election. Upon resignation of his office, the President may assume a lifetime seat on the Court under Article 97 of the Constitution.
The Constitution devotes numerous provisions to establishing fundamental rights and freedoms. However, the Constitution also contains a number of caveats, which permit restriction by the government on these rights. (see: Article 57 of the Constitution, which forbids operation of political parties, social associations, for reasons which amongst others include being against "health and morality of the people" and which constitutes a caveat over Art. 33 and 34 of the Constitution).
The current legal system in Uzbekistan is an evolution of Soviet civil law.
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