NEWS AND EVENTS
March 31, 2014
Lower House Approves Vital Constitution-Amending Bill Initiated by President
The Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan has convened for a regular session.
The lawmakers discussed the principal issue on the agenda – the bill “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to Certain Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 32, 78, 93, 98, 103 and 117)”, introduced to the consideration of the parliament by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan as a legislative initiative. The document is dedicated primarily to the further democratization of the system of government, perfection of the constitutional mechanisms in the realization of the most critical principles of government, namely, the provision for the independence and equality of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power, balance in their powers, effective operation of the system of checks and balances among them.
In the course of the preparation of the draft law to the consideration in the second reading, a range of meetings and panel discussions were organized to deliberate on and thoroughly study its principal ideas and provisions, with the engagement of representatives of political parties, civil society institutions, specialists and academics, as well as lawyers. The bill was discussed energetically and extensively during sessions of groups of political parties and deputy faction from the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan, and in committees of the lower house. During those deliberations, the lawmakers expressed their full support for the legislative initiatives of the head of our state, and stressed the timeliness and importance of the amendments due to be introduced into the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The deputies underscored in particular that this proposal of Uzbekistan’s leader is to uplift to a qualitatively new level the processes of the further intensification of democratic, political, economic and social reforms, of the gradual transformation and democratic revitalization of the state and constitutional structure, being undertaken in the country by building on the Uzbek Model of Reforms that has justified itself to a full extent. The draft law is immensely significant for the further realization of the underlying principle of our nation’s development – “From a Strong State to a Robust Civil Society”, the formation of a political system that secures the reliable protection of human rights and freedoms and other universal values and democratic norms stipulated in Uzbekistan’s Constitution.
The legislators stressed that the achievements being made, the speedy changes in the life of our society as well as the end we have set (to join the ranks of advanced democratic nations) have served as a foundation for the legislative initiatives put forward by the head of our state to introduce clarifications to our Basic Law.
In the course of the article-by-article discussion of the bill, members of the lower house from the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople – the Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan – underlined the importance of fixing in Article 98 of the Constitution of the norms envisaging the transfer of a part of powers of the President to the Prime Minister, and of clarifying and enhancing the powers and rights of the Cabinet of Ministers in general.
Notably, the Cabinet is assigned with a responsibility for the conduct of effective economic, social, financial, monetary and credit policies, for the elaboration and implementation of the programs for the development of science, culture, education, healthcare and other sectors of the economy and social sphere. The Cabinet of Ministers coordinates and directs the work of government and management bodies, ensures oversight of their activities in the order envisaged by the law. The deputies noted that these provisions dedicated to securing the independence and liability of the Cabinet of Ministers are conditioned by the very logic of Uzbekistan’s political and constitutional evolution.
Members of the parliamentary group of the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan drew attention to the new provisions of Article 78 of the Constitution stipulating the expansion of the role and powers of both houses of the Oliy Majlis in overseeing the activities of the Cabinet of Ministers.
According to legislators, the inclusion in the Constitution of the norm whereby a nominee for the post of the Prime Minister – during the consideration and approval of him/her for the position – presents a government action plan for the near and long-term future, will allow the political parties to define their stance clear cut toward the course and program of the government or certain dimensions of it. This amendment to the Basic Law is of a critical importance for the further consolidation of the parliamentarianism, multi-party system, inter-party competition and rivalry among deputy groups – the most crucial component of any democratic society. This is to be facilitated also by the obligation of the government envisioned in the draft law to present the parliament with annual reports across the most important issues in the socio-economic life of the country.
Members of the parliamentary group of the Milliy Tiklanish Democratic Party underscored the particular urgency of the addenda being introduced to Article 103 of the Constitution, in accordance with which the hokim (governor) of the province, district and township is tasked with an obligation to present the relevant Kengash (Council) of People’s Deputies with reports on crucial and the most pressing issues in the socio-economic development of the region, district or city, and whereby the Kengash of People’s Deputies adopts corresponding decisions.
Thus, the role and significance of representative bodies are to be bolstered cardinally, as are is genuine importance in the life of our society, while the role of political parties is to be boosted considerably, so is the role of their deputy groups in local Kengashes in defining actual priorities in the socio-political and economic development of regions.
Lawmakers from the Adolat Social Democratic Party stressed the special importance of amendments to Article 117 of the Basic Law directed at perfecting the constitutional foundations of the electoral system of the country. In accordance with these amendments, it is being envisaged that for the arrangement and conduct of elections of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the referendum of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan establishes the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Major principles of its activities like independence, legitimacy, collective nature, openness and justice are fixed. As the deputies said, in many advanced democratic countries the elections are organized by the executive branch of power, namely, ministries of the interior of justice, etc. And granting the Central Election Commission the status of an independent constitutional body that is formed by the parliament is an important stride in the further democratization of the electoral system that secures the complete realization of the constitutional rights of citizens to elect and be elected to government bodies along with the consolidation of guarantees of rights for freedom of speech and free expression of will.
Representatives of deputy group from the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan stressed in particular that the fixation of the institution of public scrutiny over the activities of government bodies, stipulated by amendments to Article 32 of the Constitution, bolsters considerably the role and significance of civic institutions in addressing the most critical challenges in the socio-economic and humanitarian areas. This norm is to have a vital importance in securing the steadfast development of state and society as well as environmental protection, in nurturing a comprehensively advanced and healthy younger generation.
According to legislators from the Environmental Movement, the introduction of new law norms envisioned by the bill into the Basic Law of the country requires both houses of the parliament to further improve the forms and methods of work with civil society institutions. It was noted in this respect that it is essential to ensure a more effective use of such types of works as public expertise and open discussion of draft laws being considered, hearings by the heads of executive bodies of government on the state of affairs in the socio-economic sphere in regions, etc.
The lawmakers noted also a whole range of other constitutional novelties carrying an immense importance for the further consolidation of the national statehood and the perfection of the polity, along with formation of civil society in the country.
In their view, the amendments being introduced to the Constitution, in their turn, require that the legislators adopt laws in demand in the society and necessary for a successful and effective conduct of democratic reforms and transformation, cardinal improvement of work with the electorate in electoral districts. The successful implementation of amendments to the Basic Law requires the elevation in the socio-political activeness of citizens, their political and law culture, the high level of maturity of political parties, their willingness to accept enormous responsibility on themselves for the fate and future of the nation.
Following a comprehensive discussion of the document, the Legislative Chamber approved the Law “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to Certain Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 32, 78, 93, 98, 103 and 117)”.
At the same time, the members of the lower house stressed the need in the continuation of extensive deliberations and the explication of the essence and meaning of the amendments and addenda being introduced to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan for all the citizens of the country.
(Source: Information Service Legislative Chamber Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan)