Uzbekistan - March 2023
Date for constitutional referendum finally set
On 15 March, the upper house of parliament approved a bill proposing changes to 65 per cent of the country’s constitution and setting a date for a national referendum on 30 April. The third constitutional referendum in the country’s history was originally planned for 2022, but was delayed following mass protests and violence against the removal of the western Karakalpakstan region’s autonomous status. The referendum preparation process has been marked by a show of mass participation and support with little in the way of details on the actual changes themselves. Domestic critics and analysts say any changes are sure to be superficial and the key purpose is to permit President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to stay in power for decades to come.