New Kyrgyz constitution could fuel extremism: Medvedev

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Sunday that Kyrgyzstan's vote to adopt a new parliamentary constitution could fuel extremism in the volatile central Asian state.

"I have a hard time imagining that a parliamentary republic could work in Kyrgyzstan, that it won't provoke a series of problems and encourage the rise to power of extremist forces," Medvedev told reporters at the G20 summit.

"Kyrgyzstan is confronted by many problems, notably the threat of breaking up. To avoid this you need a strong, well-organized authority," he said.

In recent weeks Kyrgyzstan has been wracked by large-scale violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups that left hundreds dead and increased tensions just two months after the previous government was overthrown by rioters.

In a referendum on Sunday, Kyrgyz voters overwhelmingly backed moves to establish a parliamentary democracy, according to the interim government which came to power after the April putsch.

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet republic and Russia still wields major influence there, maintaining a military base and close economic ties.

© 2010 AFP

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