BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan

Voting in Kyrgyzstan’s local elections and a referendum envisaging radical change in the central Asian country’s constitution ended on Sunday evening.

The Central Election Commission began sharing the preliminary results of the polls.

In the referendum, 79.1% of people voted “yes” to the constitutional reform, while 13% voted “no”, according to the commission.

Over 3.6 million people were eligible to cast their votes into 2,474 ballot boxes. The voting started at 8:00 a.m. local time (0200GMT) across seven regions and 26 provinces and ended at 08:00 p.m. (1400GMT).

Nearly 200 observers and 179 domestic and foreign press members from 10 countries, 16 embassies, and 10 international organizations monitored the voting process marked by strict health measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

The constitutional reform proposes the country’s transition from the parliamentary to a presidential system.

President Sadyr Japarov and his wife Aigul Japarova cast their ballots together after voting began.

“If our people support the draft constitution, we will start living according to the new constitution tomorrow,” Japarov told reporters.

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