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The Kyrgyz Republic (“Kyrgyzstan”) became an independent state in August 1991. The Constitution was adopted on 5 May 1993 and subsequently changed several times. The current Constitution was adopted by referendum of 21 October 2007.

The Constitution has supreme legal force and direct application and governs the competences of inter alia the President of Kyrgyzstan, the legislature (the Jogorku Kenesh), the Government, central state bodies and local self-government as well as the judiciary. Furthermore, a section is devoted to human and civil rights and freedoms.

State power is based on the principle of separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches.

Kyrgyzstan is divided into administrative territorial units with the cities of Bishkek (capital) and Osh enjoying special status. The state language is the Kyrgyz language, but the Russian language is also used as an official language, cf. Article 5.

The President of Kyrgyzstan is elected by universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot for a period of 5 years. The same person may not be elected President for more than two consecutive terms.

The President is the head of State, appoints the Prime Minister, appoints and dismisses members of the Government, heads of administrative departments and other executive authorities, and appoints – in consultation with the Prime Minister – and dismisses heads of local state administration. The President also elects or submits candidates for election of the judiciary, cf. below on judicial power.

Further, the President inter alia directs the foreign policy, negotiates, signs and ratifies treaties, grants pardons, signs and promulgates laws, issues decrees and orders, call referenda, has the power to introduce state of emergency and declare state of war and is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The President enjoys immunity. The powers of the President may be terminated due to resignation or illness. Further, the President may be dismissed in case of high treason.

The legislative power is vested in the Parliament, the Jogorku Kenesh. The 90 deputies are elected by universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot for a period of 5 years.

The Jogorku Kenesh inter alia adopts laws, gives official interpretation to these, call Presidential elections, elects and dismisses a number of judges, Government officials and the Ombudsman, authorizes or annuls decrees of the President on states of emergency and state of war, may bring charges against the President and may express no-confidence in the Government and its individual members.

The Jogorku Kenesh may be dissolved by self-dissolution of no less than two-thirds of the total number of deputies.

The legislative initiative lies with the President, deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh, the Government or 30,000 voters.

Draft laws are introduced in the Jokorgu Kenesh. If a draft law provides for increased expenditure to be covered from the national budget the draft law may be adopted after the Government has determined a source of funding.

Laws are adopted by a majority of votes of the total number of deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh. A special requirement of two-thirds applies to the adoption of constitutional laws, interpretation and amendments of these as well as laws altering the state borders.

If the President disagrees with a law adopted by the Jogorky Kenesh, the President may within one month return the law with his objections for re-examination. If the law after re-examination and within three months is approved in its previous version by the Jogorku Kenesh by at least two-thirds (or three-fourths for laws originally requiring two-thirds majority), the law shall be signed by the President within 14 days after its receipt.

The highest body of state executive power is the Government, which consists of the Prime Minister, vice-prime ministers, ministers and chairmen of state committees.

The Prime Minister is proposed to the President by the political party receiving over 50% of the mandates of deputies in election at the Jogorku Kenesh. If no party receives more than 50% of the mandates, the President instructs deputies from a political party to submit a candidate by forming a coalition of the majority of deputies. The President appoints the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister determines the structure of the Government and candidates for Government posts.

The Government decides on all matters of state administration not assigned to the President and the Jogorku Kenesh. It inter alia insures the enforcement of the Constitution and laws, issues decrees and instructions, conducts financial, investment and tax policy, prepares the budget, takes measures to preserve state sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect the constitutional structure, as well as measures on defence capacity, national and public security and rule of law.

The Jogorku Kenesh may express no-confidence in the Government in which case the President shall be entitled to dismiss the Government or express disagreement with the Jogorku Kenesh. If the President disagrees and the Jogorku Kenesh then adopts another decision expressing no-confidence in the Government, the President shall either dismiss the Government or call early elections to the Jogorku Kenesh. No-confidence may also be expressed in an individual member of the Government.

Local self-government system consists of inter alia local keneshes (elected by citizens resident in the territory of the corresponding administrative territorial unit), heads of villages districts, urban districts and cities of region significance (elected by local keneshes at the proposal of the head of the local state administration) and town mayors (elected by the local keneshes at the proposal of the President). The local keneshes inter alia ratify local budgets and programmes for socio-economic development and establish local taxes.

Judicial power is exercised solely by the courts consisting of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and local courts. Specialized courts may be established by constitutional law.

The Constitutional Court judges and the Supreme Court judges are elected by the Jogorku Kenesh at the proposal of the President of Kyrgyzstan. They may be dismissed early from office by a majority vote of no less than two-thirds of the total number of deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh at the proposal of the President.

The Constitutional Court consists of nine judges and is the highest body of judicial power for protection of the Constitution and inter alia decides on the constitutionality of laws and other legal acts, renders official interpretations of the norms of the Constitution, concludes as to the constitutionality of Presidential elections and dismissal of the President and concludes on draft laws amending and supplementing the Constitution.

The Supreme Court is the highest body of judicial power in the sphere of civil, criminal, administrative and other legal proceedings within the jurisdiction of the local courts and supervises the judicial activity of the local courts by reviews.

Judges of the local courts are appointed by the President at the proposal of the National Council for the Judiciary, which is formed from among representatives of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power and public associations. Dismissal from office is carried out by the National Council for the Judiciary.

The Constitution, new statutory wording, amendments or supplements may be adopted by nationwide referendum called by the President with the consent of the majority of the total number of deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh. It is a condition for adoption that it is voted for by over half of the voters taking part in the ballot and that over half of the voters enrolled in the electoral register turns out.

Further, amendments and supplements to the Constitution chapters three to eight (that is, excluding the chapters on Fundaments of the constitutional order, Human and civil rights and freedoms, and Procedures for adopting changes to the constitution) may be adopted by a majority of two-thirds of the total number of deputies by the Jogorku Kenesh at the proposal of the President, the Jogorku Kenesh itself or on the initiative of no fewer than 300,000 voters. The majority of the Jogorku Kenesh may demand that such a law be put to a referendum.

Posted: February 2008

ODIHR Legal Reviews, Assessments

Variety of useful resources and tools prepared by ODIHR to support legal reform in OSCE participating States. It includes legal reviews of draft and exisiting national legislation and assessments of legislative process.



This Opinion analyses the draft Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Amendments and Addenda to Some Legal Acts against the background of its compatibility with relevant international standards and OSCE commitments. It focuses mainly on this draft Law, and thus does not constitute a full and comprehensive review of all available framework legislation touching on freedom of association in the Kyrgyz Republic. In light of the short notice given in the request for legal review (due to the initial date of the parliamentary hearing), it has not been possible to carry out a fact-finding mission to the Kyrgyz Republic, and there thus have been no opportunities to discuss the Draft Law and its background with the authorities and civil society in the Kyrgyz Republic. For this reason, this opinion is an interim one based on a preliminary, abstract assessment of the Draft Law. It might be revised, once exchanges of views have taken place with the authorities and civil society of the Kyrgyz Republic.
This Opinion is based on an unofficial English translation of the draft Law. Errors from translation may result.
OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission would like to make mention that this Opinion is without prejudice to any written or oral recommendations and comments to the Law or related legislation that OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission may make in the future.


The Opinion welcomes the initiative of the Kyrgyz Republic to reform its NHRI legislation and notes a number of positive aspects, including the explicit reference to the Ombudsperson’s independence, the high standing of the Ombudsperson in the country and obligations to support the Ombudsperson’s office, the broad human rights mandate, and the institution’s human rights protection functions. At the same time, the Opinion recommends that certain aspects be addressed to guarantee the full independence of the Ombudsperson in line with the UN Paris Principles, including by providing a clear, transparent and participatory merit-based selection and appointment procedures for the NHRI’s senior leadership (Ombudsperson and deputies), revising the grounds and process for dismissal of the Ombudsperson and deputies and providing for the functional immunity to the Ombudsperson’s staff. 


While noting some positive features of the Draft Law, particularly with respect to the prohibition of censorship and of media monopolization as well as guarantees of journalistic freedoms, the Joint Opinion concludes that a number of provisions raise concerns, as they may not correspond to internationally recognized freedom of expression standards and good practice in the OSCE region. Most notably, the regulatory system contemplated by the Draft Law fails to take into account the differences between the print and broadcast sectors and the Internet, in line with international recommendations and good practices. In particular, the press and online media should be excluded from the scope of compulsory registration; a voluntary registration or notification procedure for press and online outlets could be proposed instead, which could provide for additional benefits for the registered media outlets. Moreover, certain content restrictions proposed in the Draft Law are problematic from the point of view of freedom of expression since they do not appear to pursue a legitimate aim and/or are not formulated in a clear and precise manner. Additionally, the Draft Law includes provisions that could restrict the media’s ability to operate independently and investigate important issues by imposing stringent registration requirements on all mass media outlets. The Draft Law also does not introduce an independent media regulatory body; instead media regulation is fully concentrated under government bodies.


The Opinion considers that overall, the Rules of Procedure of the Jogorku Kenesh (RoP) appear to be quite comprehensive, and cover issues ranging from the roles of MPs, factions and committees to procedural matters, including the legislative process. At the same time, a number of aspects could be improved, especially to guarantee a more prominent role for the Jogorku Kenesh and its bodies in carrying out their core functions of oversight and representation. In particular, the provisions pertaining to the parliamentary oversight could be enhanced to make the process more transparent, effective and powerful. Similarly, the RoP would benefit from improvements for ensuring more open, transparent, effective and inclusive public participation and expert involvement in public consultation processes, both in the context of law-making and exercise of oversight functions. In addition, number of provisions on factions and political groups, role of the opposition, as well as on recalling parliamentary mandates would benefit from revision to ensure compliance with international human rights standards and OSCE commitments, though noting that this may also require amending the Constitution for that purpose, as underlined in the 2021 Joint Opinion. The RoP could also be improved with a view to insert more collegial decision-making rather than concentrating such powers in the hands of the Speaker of the Parliament, as well as to ensure a gender and diversity perspective throughout the RoP.

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OSCE/ODIHR welcomes the initiative of the Kyrgyz Migration Service to seek international expertise in relation to the international obligations on non-citizens within the territory of a state and to nationals who are abroad in times of crisis administration. These subjects are relevant during all crisis situations, but have become particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Note provides an overview of the relevant international legal obligations of states to migrants during times of crisis, focusing primarily on international human rights law. The Note elaborates on possible derogations from human rights obligations, but underscores the utmost importance of such measures being exceptional, temporary, prescribed by law and proportionate as outlined in the Copenhagen Document (1990) and other international standards.


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Variety of useful resources and tools prepared by ODIHR to support legal reform in OSCE participating States. It includes legal reviews of draft and exisiting national legislation and assessments of legislative process.

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