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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyz Leaders Agree on New Constitution

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the opposition on Tuesday agreed on a draft of a new constitution that would curb some of his powers and give more authority to the parliament.

Opposition leaders emerged from the final round of talks with Bakiyev saying the constitution would be submitted to the parliament for approval Thursday.

"It will be a mixed presidential-parliamentary form of rule in which the parliament wields more authority," said Melis Eshimkanov, an opposition member of the parliament who attended the talks.

The government will have to resign if the parliament accepts the new draft, and lawmakers will then appoint a new Cabinet.

The opposition, led by Bakiyev's arch rival, Omurbek Tekebayev, had threatened to hold mass demonstrations and to demand Bakiyev's resignation if he did not cede more power to the parliament and prove his commitment to reform.

Kyrgyzstan has been volatile ever since riots ousted Bakiyev's long-serving predecessor in 2005.

The West is watching Kyrgyzstan, home to both U.S. and Russian military air bases, for signs of fresh civil unrest which it worries may spread to other Central Asian states.

Bakiyev came to power on the back of popular protests, but his popularity has slipped away amid growing crime and despair among ordinary people.

Adding further tension to the standoff, Russia accused Kyrgyzstan on Monday of allowing exiled billionaire Boris Berezovsky to visit the country in July. Kyrgyzstan shrugged off the charge, saying it was not aware of any visit.