The entire government of Kyrgyzstan resigned yesterday, clearing the way for President Askar Akayev to exercise his newly won constitutional powers and reshape the government. Constitutional amendments approved by the February 10 referendum enable Akayev to personally determine the country’s domestic and foreign policies and to appoint all ministers without parliamentary consent. The appointment of a prime minister, however, requires approval by the lower house of the bicameral parliament; the president is entitled to dissolve that house if it rejects three candidates. (12)
Unfinished business of the outgoing government includes joining Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in the CIS customs union. Akayev confirmed earlier this month that Kyrgyzstan was scheduled to sign February 20 the documents on its admission to the union, but this has not happened. Another pending item on the agenda is the submission by the Foreign Ministry of the country’s foreign policy doctrine for presidential — no longer parliamentary — approval. Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva’s draft reportedly provides for "equal openness to East and West" and diversified relations beyond the CIS.