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Central Asia

Constitutional Reforms – Will of the Electorate and Requirement of New Era

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The past week in the life of our Uzbek parliament has been full of significant events for long-term development and strengthening of constitutional and legal foundations, as well as large-scale and rapid democratic transformations in the country to build New Uzbekistan and form the third Renaissance.

As a result, on May 16, separate meetings of the Oliy Majlis’s (Parliament) two largest factions – UzLiDeP and National Revival (Milliy Tiklanish) Democratic Party were conducted, followed by a joint meeting on May 17 dedicated to the implementation of constitutional reforms in our country and submission of this issue to the Councils (Kengashes) of the Oliy Majlis.

The Councils of the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament held a meeting jointly on May 20. The Constitutional Commission was established to develop proposals for constitutional amendments and additions, as well as to implement organizational measures; its composition and tasks were established. This Constitutional Commission was comprised of deputies, senators from all regions, representatives from various social strata, civil society institutions, leading lawyers, political scientists, and other experts (46 people in total).

What is the reason for such a decision of our parliament? Why is a constitutional reform needed, what are its leitmotifs? How and on the basis of what principles will the commission’s activities be organized? This is by no means a complete list of questions posed on the Internet and social networks.

First of all, we should recognize that our President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is the main ideological inspirer for constitutional reform in Uzbekistan, and the general population is the main initiator.

Firstly, during the presidential elections of Uzbekistan in October 2021, at the meetings of all candidates with representatives of the electorate, an important proposal was put forward, demanded by life itself and dictated by the logic of democratic transformations in our country. This is the implementation of constitutional reform.

The first proposal to consider constitutional amendments and additions was made by voters during a meeting with UzLiDeP presidential candidate Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the Karakalpakstan district of Bozatau. In light of an ecological disaster not only on a regional but also on a global scale – the drying up of the Aral Sea – the relevance and immense importance of reflecting environmental human rights in the country’s Basic Law, the rights of current and future generations of the country’s citizens to a favorable environment, which are not reflected in the current Constitution are highlighted.

Consequently, in seven more regions, during the meetings of Shavkat Mirziyoyev with voters of the regions, initiatives were put forward to further strengthen the constitutional and legal foundations for the protection of private property, including land and subsoil, ensuring human dignity, human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests, interethnic and interfaith harmony in the country, enhancing the role and status of the most important national democratic institution – the mahalla, carefully conveying traditional values ​​to future generations, the institution of the family, developing state youth and gender policies, innovative economy and knowledge economy, expanding investment in the economy and social sphere.

Most importantly, these questions were raised by voters: teachers, business owners, farmers, representatives of civil society organizations, national cultural centers, and ordinary citizens. This, in turn, indicates, on the one hand, widespread support for the president’s policy of democratic reforms, implemented within the framework of the New Uzbekistan Development Strategy for 2022-2026, and, on the other hand, voters’ interest in their effectiveness in further deepening and achieving the election program’s goals and objectives.

Similarly, during the meeting of candidates from:

  • National Revival Democratic Party (“Milliy Tiklanish”) – proposals were put forward to define the constitutional identity of our country, strengthen and protect national traditions and values;
  • Justice Social Democratic Party (“Adolat”) – strengthening the constitutional foundations of the independence of the judiciary, the fairness of laws and judicial decisions, the implementation of the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution and laws, human rights, the fight against corruption;
  • People’s Democratic Party ofUzbekistan – expansion of constitutional and social protection of vulnerable segments of the population, especially persons with disabilities, construction of a socially-oriented state;
  • Ecological Party of Uzbekistan – the country’s transition to a “green economy”, improving the situation in environmentally unfavorable regions.

It is important to note that this is the voters’ decision, as stated during elections and meetings with presidential candidates.

Second, based on an in-depth study of voter preferences, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized the need for constitutional reform:

  • during his inaugural address on November 6 last year. The country’s leader then tasked the scientific, academic, and educational communities with analysing the national and international experience of constitutional development, and requested deputies and senators to carefully evaluate the matter, investigate it, and offer specific ideas;
  • in congratulations on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the head of state outlined priority areas for constitutional reform based on the wishes of voters, the needs of ongoing dynamic democratic reforms.

Furthermore, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev included a whole section devoted to the need for constitutional reform in the second revised and expanded edition of his first fundamental author’s monograph “New Uzbekistan Development Strategy” based on a generalisation of all the proposals made during the election campaign. The book outlines Uzbekistan’s top priorities for constitutional reform.

Third, political parties, primarily UzLiDeP and National Revival Democratic Party (“Milliy Tiklanish”), conducted a thorough study of their electorate’s opinions and wishes regarding the upcoming constitutional reforms.

Over 1.5 million members of these parties and their multi-million electorate not only supported, but also highlighted the need to modernize the Constitution as a necessary condition for achieving the goals of the New Uzbekistan Development Strategy, ensuring sustainable development, and establishing the legal foundations for even more accelerated and dynamic reform across all socio-economic, political, legal, cultural, and humanitarian spheres.

Akmal Saidov

Chairperson of the Constitutional Commission for the Formation of Proposals for Constitutional Amendments and Additions

and Implementation of Organizational Measures

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.