Kyrgyz swears in Central Asia’s first woman Prez

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Kyrgysztan leader Roza Otunbayeva on Saturday etched her name in history as she was sworn-in as the conflict-ridden country’s President, the first-ever woman head of state in Central Asia.
In a landmark referendum, an overwhelming 90.55 per cent voters in Kyrgyzstan backed a new Constitution to transform the country a parliamentary democracy and strip the Presidential post of its wide ranging powers.
After publishing the official results of the June 27 referendum, the Kyrgyz Central Election Commission (CEC) on Saturday declared Ms Otunbayeva, 59, as the transitional President of the Central Asian republic till December 31, 2011, when the country would switch to a parliamentary democracy.
After the violent ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on April 7, Ms Otunbayeva’s interim regime had to face the challenge of inter-ethnic violence in southern regions of Osh and Jalalabad in June.
At least 2000 are believed to have died in the anti-Uzbek violence and at one juncture Ms Otunbayeva had appealed to Russia for military intervention to restore law and order in the region where the number of refugees went up to four lakh. “Today Kyrgyzstan is going through one of the most dramatic periods in its history,” Ms Otunbayeva said to a cheering audience in a packed Soviet-era concert hall in the capital Bishkek, in her inaugural speech on Saturday.
She expressed sorrow at the violence in the southern regions and promised a new political era for a country riddled with instability.

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