Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, H.E. Aziz Abdukhakimov Outlines Main Directions of Constitutional Reforms
At a garden party hosted by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels on 22 June, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage Aziz Abdukhakimov (in Brussels to participate in the 2022 European Development Days) took the opportunity to brief the attendees about the momentous developments taking place in Uzbekistan, namely those related to the constitutional reforms proposed by President H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
A few weeks ago, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting with members of the Constitutional Commission, which has been set up by the Parliament to implement the reforms. The President underlined that the Constitution represents a solid legal basis for the country’s accomplishments achieved during the years of independence. However, life is not static, and people and their mindsets are rapidly evolving.
So far, the Constitutional Commission, which has been functioning since May 20, has received almost 50,000 proposals from citizens, which cover all areas of social, political, economic and cultural life of the country.
The President believes that the updated Constitution should create a reliable guarantee for the success of the country’s long-term development strategies.
The reforms will be focused on four priority areas:
First: human life, freedom, dignity, inviolable rights and interests. In this context, the President proposed to introduce a constitutional ban on death penalty.
Second: reflecting the concept of “Uzbekistan is a social state” in the Constitution. It means that the state’s obligations toward men and women, families and children, youth and the elderly, persons with disabilities, all people, whether in the country or abroad, shall be provided for in the Constitution.
Third: clearly defining the status of the mahalla in the Constitution and the duties of public authorities in the process engagement with the mahallas. To be more specific, it has been proposed to reflect the principle that the mahalla is not part of the system of public authorities, and can independently address the issues of local importance on the ground, while receiving support from the state for these purposes.
Fourth: improvement of public administration, strengthening democratic institutions. It means that public control will be established over state bodies. It is proposed to implement this principle by introducing the provisions that shall ensure openness, transparency and accountability of public authorities, as well as their compactness and efficiency.
In addition, the President proposed to expand the powers of the Parliament in government formation and delegating part of presidential powers to the Parliament to ensure its effective functioning.
Another innovative proposal has been granting legislative powers to the public, which can form a group of at least 100,000 citizens to be able to submit their legislative proposals to the Parliament.
The President also proposed to update and improve the conceptual and legal framework of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy given fundamental developments and changes taking place around the world.
The proposals of the Commission will be thoroughly discussed in the Parliament, which will draft a new Constitution. In fact, the Parliament now has the power to independently amend the Constitution. However, the President proposed to consider the new draft Constitution at a nationwide discussion and adopt it by referendum, thus making the new Constitution the people’s Constitution indeed, by the people and for the people.
Deputy Prime Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov concluded by highlighting the need of continuing dialogue with European partners in this regard, given their experience, knowledge and expertise in this crucial process that Uzbekistan is undergoing.