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Tuva Celebrates Constitution Day

Today Tuva celebrates it Constitution Day. The present Constitution of the Republic of Tuva, the nineth in its history (the first one dates back to 1921, when a Tannu-Tuva People Republic was declared), was adopted at an all-republican referendum on May 6, 2001. The first post-perestroika Constitution was adopted by the revolutionary Supreme Soviet of Tuva at its session in 1993. It was written under Yeltsin's slogan 'Take as much sovereignity as you can swallow!'

The preparation of the new main Law in 2000-2001 went in the tight political fight in between the President of the Republic who developed the draft law and the Supreme Khural (then the name of the Tuvan Parliament). Deputies did not approve some of the changes introduced by the new Constitution – liquidation of the presidential post, bicameral parliament with an unprecedented for the 95 per cent donated Tuva number of the deputies – 162, private property for land etc.

They suggested that the most disputable questions in the draft law be voted on a referendum and after that the parliament in accordance with the old constitution (1993) adopt the new main law in the whole. But the other party insisted that the law should be voted by electorate as such either pro or contra but without any changes. Thus as the political experts predicted Sherig-ool Oorzhak wanted to create the manageable higher chamber with 132 non-professional deputies combining their labour duties with parliamentary work and a lower chamber with 32 professional deputies where he wanted his proponents to be elected to.

Thus it happened – many of the oppositional old khural deputies were defeated by the pro-presidential figures. But in the long run even the proponents became again an opposition and to the old traditional contradictions between executive and legislative branches of the power discrepancies between the two chambers have been added.

The fight of the Oorzhak's team with the opposition ended in a long political crisis in 2006-2007 which finally brougt to the change in the Tuva's rule. Sholban Kara-ool, 40, whose candidature was put forward by President Putin, took the position of the head of the republic.

The new leader thinks it necessary to make some amendments to the Constitution in regard to the Bicameral structure of the Parliament, a huge financial burden, which substanially donated budget of Tuva would not cope with.

Dina Oyun
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