Uzbekistan Publishes Draft Constitutional Amendments For Nationwide Debate

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Realizing the need for improved business and investment climate in a competitive world, a friendly foreign policy and Parliamentary democracy, the legislative wing of the Majlis Oliy (Parliament) in Uzbekistan has proposed sweeping changes in the constitution  while keeping in mind President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s focus on four points – freedom and human dignity with rule of law, social welfare structure of the state, role of local-self bodies or ‘mahalla’, democratic functioning of administration and efficiency in governance with openness, transparency and accountability in the activities of state bodies.

The 10-day public debate on Draft Constitutional Amendments, as published by Parliamentary media outlets on June 25, on 200 amendments in 64 articles of Basic Laws with 6 new articles to be incorporated along with 16 norms, will remain open from June 25 to July 5. Its results will be considered by the Legislative Chamber, summarized and published. The draft law will be further improved and then submitted to a national referendum.

These amendments and additions of the constitution cover the provision of favorable business and investment climate in the country, the protection of fair competition, ensuring conditions for the development of entrepreneurship, the prevention of monopolization of economic activities, the right to conduct any legal activity for entrepreneurs and make unlimited profits.

The bill also envisages provisions governing further improvement of the foundations of the state authorities, strengthening the powers of the parliament and envisaging citizens’ high involvement in the legislative process and more.

The Parliament explained that the amendments were selected from more than 60,000 proposals submitted to the Constitutional Commission. The draft was adopted in the first reading, after which it was submitted for general discussion. Any citizen of Uzbekistan can participate in it. Comments and suggestions on the draft of constitutional bill can be submitted to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis directly, by call centre 1341 or through special platform meningkonstitutsiyam.uz
Earlier, on June 20, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during his meeting with members of Constitution Commission focused on four priority areas of constitutional reforms:

As the first area, the President indicated to “a person, his life, freedom and dignity, inviolable rights and interests.”

“Raising the human dignity, in fact, should be a constitutional obligation and a priority goal for public authorities. These principles should be clearly reflected in our updated Constitution, find their perfect legal solution,” he said.

The President proposed to reflect the Miranda Rule and the Habeas Corpus principles in the Constitution. “When a person is detained, his rights and the reason for detention should be explained in simple terms,” he said.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev pointed to the need to add into the Constitution that a person’s criminal record and the legal consequences arising from it cannot be a basis for restricting the rights of his relatives and to strengthen the constitutional foundation for the humane treatment of convicts.

In the second priority area, it is proposed to enshrine the idea of “Uzbekistan is a social state” in the Constitution.

Decent living conditions shall be created in a social state for everyone, no one should be left without attention, on their own with their problems, the President noted.

“The care of the state for men and women, families and children, youth and the elderly, persons with disabilities, all people, whether in the country or abroad, should be enshrined in the Constitution,” he said adding that it should be Constitutional obligation of the state.

The third area is to clearly define in the Constitution the status of mahalla (local-self bodies ) and the duties of state bodies in the process of interaction with it.

At the same time, the President Mirziyoyev proposed to reflect the principle that the mahalla is not part of the system of state authorities, can independently resolve local issues on the ground and receive support from the state for these purposes.

The fourth area, voiced by the President, is the improvement of governance and the strengthening of democracy.

“We are aiming to build a democratic state that lives by the concerns of the people. This means that the state, its bodies and officials serve the people. People’s oversight over state power shall be established. I propose to introduce into the Constitution provisions that ensure openness, transparency and accountability in the activities of state bodies, as well as the compactness and efficiency of these bodies,” he said.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev also proposed to transfer to the Senate the powers of the president to approve the decree on the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Agency and the right to appoint and dismiss the chairman of the Accounts Chamber.

The President noted the need to expand the powers of the government and define in the Constitution the responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers and mayor’s offices on environmental issues, youth, family support, social protection of persons with disabilities, development of public transport, creation of conditions for recreation of the population and support for civil society institutions.

The President of Uzbekistan also pointed out the importance of updating the conceptual and legal framework of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy, taking into account the changes taking place in the world. “I propose to introduce an article into our Constitution stating that Uzbekistan pursues a peaceful and friendly policy with all countries, primarily with neighbours, its foreign policy is based on respect for human rights and freedoms, principles and norms of territorial integrity,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized.

During the meeting President also proposed to consider adopting amendments to the Constitution through a referendum.T

M.I. Khan

Editor-in-Chief, Political Events Magazine

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