The referendum media campaign is gung-ho in northern Kyrgyzstan. Throughout the region, state officials are sticking fliers in doors: “Voting is your right and duty." Billboards in the North, and in violence-plagued Osh, urge voters to participate on June 27, when the beleaguered interim government hopes to legitimize its rule.
Many in the northern province of Chui support holding the referendum. One woman in Chong-Kemin said that she was encouraging all members of her cooperative to convince at least five people each to vote.
The referendum is being equated to “stability.” Since the April 7 ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Kyrgyzstan has been beset by political and economic uncertainty.
Legitimizing the new constitution, paving the way for parliamentary elections, and confirming a head of state: for many this spells the best possible future for Kyrgyzstan. Yet, holding the referendum for a constitution drafted in a hurry is no guarantee and many fear the process will lead to further unrest.
In the South, some have promised to block the vote. They point to two factors undermining its legitimacy: hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the violence; too many others are scared to come out of their homes.