Oliy Majlis, the lower house of Uzbekistan’s parliament, has supported the decision to keep the sovereign status of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
With one voice, deputies have supported the decision not to change articles 70,71,72,73,74 and 75 of the Uzbek Constitution (about Karakalpakstan).
On June 20, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev suggested organizing a referendum on amendments to the Constitution. It was supposed to discuss more than 200 amendments to 64 articles of the document. Part of these amendments suggested deleting the sovereign status of the Republic of Karakalpakstan which was approved by a referendum after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
On July 1, people took to the street in Nukus, the capital of the autonomous republic. The government cracked the protests and declared a state of emergency in Karakalpakstan. After the demonstrations, President Mirziyoyev said that there was no need to change articles of the Constitution regarding the sovereignty of Karakalpakstan.
The biggest territory in Uzbekistan the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan has a population of two million and occupies the northwestern part of the country (40% of the territory). In early 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Karakalpakstan agreed to be an autonomous part of Uzbekistan with the status of a sovereign republic, two languages (Karakalpak and Uzbek) and the right to be an independent state if people decide so through a referendum.