by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev
at the meeting with members of the Oliy Majlis, representatives of political parties and the public
Dear members of parliament, representatives of political parties and public!
Distinguished participants of the meeting!
As you are well aware, on April 30 this year an important, truly historic event took place in the life of our country. For the first time ever, we adopted a new Constitution based on a nationwide referendum.
Most of our citizens who participated in the referendum voted with pride, realizing that "This is my Constitution".
The referendum has clearly demonstrated how much our people’s political awareness, legal culture and outlook of have grown in recent years. With this historic election, the people of Uzbekistan have once again demonstrated their high level of confidence and full support for the reforms we embarked on six years ago. The people's decision has therefore laid a solid foundation for the further sustainable development of our statehood and economy.
Is this not proof that every citizen, regardless of nationality, language and religion, can feel the cardinal changes taking place in the country through their own example and the life of their family?
Millions of our citizens actively participated in the nationwide discussions on the draft Constitution, which took place at all stages prior to its adoption. In this regard, we have every reason to claim that the real author of the updated Constitution is our people.
The most important thing is that now we will never deviate from the path of reforms, we will move forward, and only forward on the basis of the new system "human - society - state".
Undoubtedly, the will of the people in the referendum, their great trust, imposes a great responsibility on all of us, urges us to reach new frontiers for the welfare of our compatriots, gives us more strength and energy, and inspires us to consistently continue the reforms.
I bow low to our multi-ethnic, courageous and noble people, who, having fulfilled their high civic duty with dignity, actively participated in the adoption of the country's Basic Law with their practical proposals and initiatives, ideas and opinions.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the esteemed representatives of the older generations, scientific and cultural figures, the intelligentsia, distinguished teachers and tutors, medical personnel, entrepreneurs, workers and employees, skilled peasants and farmers, cluster workers, who give new impetus to the development of the national economy, and the chairmen of the makhallas, assistants of the khokims, youth leaders, women activists and prevention inspectors, who are the pillars of society, goal-oriented young people - the builders of our future, in a word, all patriots of Uzbekistan, who selflessly participate in the processes of renewal and transformation, who support us in all our good endeavours.
I would like to extend my special gratitude to the members of the Constitutional Commission, all deputies and senators, representatives of political parties, who conducted a dialogue with the people, studied their opinions, contributed to the improvement of the Constitution, as well as to the scientists, national and foreign experts, who actively participated in the drafting of the law on the basis of international standards, to the representatives of the media, who openly covered the referendum process, to the international observers, who expressed their objective opinion.
There is no doubt that April 30, the day when our people made their choice and voted for the renewed Constitution, will be a vivid and unforgettable page in the history of our country. On that day, our people, who have experienced much in their lives, who value peaceful life, human honour and dignity, once again demonstrated their commitment to the ideals of democracy, freedom, equality, social justice and solidarity.
Continuing the good traditions rooted in our ancient history, guaranteeing human rights and freedoms as the supreme value, respecting our elders, permanent dialogue with the people - this is what we see as a true democracy.
It is not by chance that our people say: "Where there is solidarity and harmony, there is development”. Indeed, in a country where people live in friendship and understanding, there will always be prosperity and progress.
Our greatest treasure is our great multinational people, who consider Uzbekistan their sacred Motherland. The highest duty for each of us is to cherish inter-ethnic friendship and harmony in our beautiful country like the apple of our eye.
Dear participants of the meeting!
Article 1 of the updated Constitution firmly enshrines the historically important provision that Uzbekistan is a sovereign, democratic, legal, social and secular state. These principles enshrined in the Basic Law by the will of the people - these five foundations that have shaped the path of development and destiny of our country - will never be changed.
As you know, the world faces new challenges, threats, and problems every day. Even the most authoritative political scientists and experts and think tanks cannot predict the outcome of the confrontations and conflicts taking place in the world.
In such complex conditions, the interests of our people and our homeland must be our top priority in every area of our work, in every law and decision we make.
To this end, first of all, we must all always remember that our vital task is to preserve, further strengthen and transfer of our independence to future generations - the incomparable, greatest asset, a centuries-old dream of our ancestors.
Our creative people, now approaching 40 million, have a three-thousand-year history of statehood, a rich and unique culture. We are all responsible for their destiny, future and prosperity. In this regard, maintaining and consolidating peace and stability in the country will continue to be our most important task.
To this end, we shall raise to a new level the work aimed at ensuring national security, increasing the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
In order to ensure peaceful and quite life in the country, we will accelerate the implementation of the concepts of "Safe City", "Safe Makhalla", and "Safe Road". Therefore, the state and society will fully support the new system of "Five Pillars of Makhalla". We will mobilise all forces and capabilities to further strengthen the atmosphere of civil harmony, international friendship and tolerance.
In today’s challenging global environment, we will continue our peaceful foreign policy and develop friendly relations, cooperation in all fields with countries near and far.
In order to further strengthen the sovereignty of the country, we will develop new initiatives and programmes to overcome the problems related to global climate change, food security, energy, logistics, negative impact of water scarcity, to work actively in these directions together with our partners.
Second, we have declared Uzbekistan a social state. There are more than 2,2 million families in the country in need of social protection. 55% of the population are young people.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to one issue. In the updated Constitution, the social obligations of the state have been tripled. It's easy to say, but we have to work hard to put it into practice. To this end, an additional 30-40 trillion Uzbek soums should be allocated annually from the state budget, including for the construction of hundreds of new kindergartens, schools and hospitals.
We will also give priority to using new opportunities to raise the level of youth policy, the development of education and upbringing, science, culture and sport.
We will further expand the social services for our veterans, the lonely elderly, people with disabilities, and citizens in need of special attention and care. We will regularly increase wages, pensions, allowances and scholarships.
Let us ask ourselves: why were our people so active in the referendum? Why have they supported our reforms? Because they see with their own eyes the tremendous creative work going on everywhere - in the villages and auls of Karakalpakstan and the regions, in the makhallas and on the streets of our capital.
Let me give you an example. Since last year we have started to implement the “Open Budget” system and we all see the positive results of the implementation of this initiative on people’s mood.
At the same time, we have to work twice as hard as we do today to meet the growing needs of the population.
As you all know, we have recognised the existence of poverty in the country and are making significant efforts to reduce it through separate programmes.
To this end, we have introduced a system of «three notebooks» and a social register to ensure employment and increase the income of the population, especially young people and women, and we have achieved significant results in this regard.
Our citizens have high expectations of the renewed Constitution and the new being introduced system.
In order to create decent living conditions for the population, it is primarily necessary to ensure economic growth. We must use all possibilities at our disposal to increase our GDP from the current $80 billion to $160 billion in the coming years. This means that the GDP per capita will reach $4,000.
We will accelerate efforts to support the private sector, further simplify tax administration, and reduce state involvement in the economy. Major investments will be attracted, particularly in agriculture, water management, industry, energy, transport, and construction.
In general, by August 1, the Government will have developed and submitted to Parliament a separate program for each new obligation of the state, specifying the funds, implementation mechanisms, responsible ministries and khokimiyats, as well as officials.
Third, we have defined for the first time the Republic of Uzbekistan as a state governed by the rule of law in our Constitution.
The number of norms on human rights guarantees in the Constitution has also tripled. This means that the rule of law, primarily will be ensured in all spheres. Henceforth, any ambiguity in the laws will be interpreted in favor of the individual.
Above all, the criterion of activity for every member of society, especially for officials, must be the approach: «The law is sacred, justice must prevail in all circumstances»!
At the same time, in order to effectively protect human rights and freedoms, we must ensure in practice an impartial, fair and independent judicial review of cases.
To this end, the Basic Law stipulates that no one may be detained for more than 48 hours without a court order, and that restrictions on liberty may only be imposed by court order. For the first time, the right of an accused person not to testify against himself, in other words, the right to remain silent, is specifically stipulated. The status of lawyers has been raised, and it has been established that they have the same rights with investigators and prosecutors.
Obviously, implementing these progressive innovations introduced in the Basic Law will not be an easy task; many societies can only dream of such changes. In order to do so, we must improve the cadre capacity and strengthen the material and technical base of the judicial and legal institutions.
Most importantly, along with improving the knowledge and skills, the spiritual and moral level of the investigators, prosecutors, judges, and lawyers, we also need to improve the legal culture of the population, and change our attitudes.
However difficult it may be, the time itself urges us to do this work.
Fourth, we will resolutely continue on the path of democratic development.
We have further strengthened the guarantees of this principle in the Basic Law. We need a compact and efficient system of governance which facilitates the problems of people and businesses, and provides them with high-quality services.
It is with this in mind that we have embarked on administrative reforms. In the first stage, the structures of the government and ministries were made more compact, and their working methods changed. The next step is to improve the quality of governance at regional and district levels.
My biggest dream is to create a truly democratic system in which the makhalla solves people’s problems independently. In this regard, no less than 30% of the powers in the areas of finance, taxation and employment are to be delegated to the makhalla level.
The amendments to the revised Constitution also provide for a number of political reforms. In this direction, important changes will be made in the functioning of the parliament. In particular, the number of exclusive powers of the Legislative Chamber has been increased from the current 5 to 12, and that of the Senate from 14 to 18.
At the same time, the powers of the chambers have been specified. Thus, the formation of the government and the exercise of parliamentary control over its activities are now under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Chamber.
Along with this, the time has come for our deputies to focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of laws, working closely with the government to ensure their effective implementation.
It is necessary to direct the activities of the Senate towards resolving issues related to the regions, providing comprehensive assistance to local kengashes, ensuring the implementation of laws on the ground, especially in the makhallas.
All of this, of course, imposes a great responsibility on our deputies and Senators. They should meet with local people more often, listen to their problems and work with ministers and khokims to find concrete solutions to each problem. Our joint work will only benefit from this.
At present, the media and journalists are the most effective force in conveying the voice and opinion of the people to the general public and to state bodies.
In order to consistently continue the policy of openness in society, the freedom of the media to operate and to exercise their right to receive, use and disseminate information is firmly guaranteed.
At the same time, freedom of expression means responsibility. Therefore, we must remember that the main requirements for activities in the information space are reliability and objectivity.
We will also pay special attention to the development of civil society institutions by strengthening the role of non-governmental organizations and guaranteeing their rights.
Fifth, Uzbekistan is a secular state. It will remain so.
This is the will of our people, their firm choice, expressed in a referendum.
We will continue to ensure the freedom of conscience of every citizen, regardless of his nationality, language, religion and social status, and create the necessary conditions for the free activity of religious denominations.
We will consistently continue the policy of ensuring harmony and mutual respect among the representatives of different nations and faiths in the country. We will never allow any manifestations of radicalism in our society, the use of religion for political purposes.
From the first day of my presidency, I have been repeating: “We are called to serve our people. We are called to create a decent life for them”.
When we started the reforms, we faced many problems and trials that we could not have imagined before. Together with our people we are finding ways to solve them, we are solving every problem on the spot. After all, the essence and content, the main goal of the updated Constitution is to create decent conditions for the prosperous life for the people. On the way to this goal, no matter how difficult it may be, we find the necessary means, sometimes even more than that, means, we use all the possibilities.
Our people are the fairest judges. I am convinced that today each of our compatriots can say that positive changes are taking place in his or her life.
Now we are on the threshold of an even more responsible and decisive historical stage, we are entering a fundamentally new period of the country's development. With the adoption of the updated Constitution, we have laid the legal foundations for the Third Renaissance in Uzbekistan. Today, every compatriot who wishes to make a worthy contribution to the achievement of such a great goal of our people must act primarily on the basis of this foundation.
The Basic Law opens up boundless possibilities for realizing the hopes and aspirations of the younger generation, in particular, and for laying a solid foundation for their future.
In this regard, today I have signed two important decrees.
The first decree provides for specific tasks for the implementation of the updated Constitution, a broad explanation among the population of its essence and content in order to ensure its enforcement.
In this sense, in order to make every provision and article of our Basic Law into the norm of society, especially for young people to expand their knowledge and worldview in this direction, it is necessary to create in-depth studies in every makhalla, educational institution, organization and enterprise, curricula, textbooks and allowances.
Furthermore, using the powers granted to the President of the country by Article 128 of the amended Constitution, I have signed the second important decree. According to it, early presidential elections will be held in the country.
Undoubtedly, a natural question arises, what is the objective necessity of making such a decision.
Why am I voluntarily giving up the remaining three and a half years of my presidential term?
As you can see for yourself, in accordance with the Basic Law, first of all, all the links of power are being reformed, the relations and the balance between them are seriously changing.
Second, the updated Constitution poses urgent, new political and socio-economic challenges to the President, parliament, government, ministers and khokims.
Third, the people expect us to make very important and urgent changes and reforms in all areas.
Fourth, at a time when complicated processes are taking place in the world and in our region, the search for and implementation of a correct and efficient way of development becomes the most acute and urgent issue.
In this regard, I would like to address our entire nation.
Dear compatriots, as you all know, we have set ourselves even higher goals and targets.
From now on, we will consult with you, our wise and noble people, on all issues related to the life of our society and state, on our present and future development, and we will act only in agreement with you.
After all, our Basic Law stipulates that the people are the sole source of state power. From this point of view, it is quite natural that in the system of the renewed state power our people, I repeat, only the people will elect the leader they trust.
I believe that this is the most correct and just decision in the current circumstances.
The elections will be held in full accordance with the law, openly and transparently. I am confident that the political parties and presidential candidates will put forward new ideas and initiatives that will serve the peace and prosperity of the country and increase the welfare of the people.
I would like to emphasize once again that no matter how high and difficult the goals we set for ourselves may be, we have every opportunity to achieve them.
The legacy of our great ancestors, the creative power, intellectual and spiritual potential, enterprise and diligence of our people will be the source of strength and energy on this path.
I am confident that together with you, with our entire nation we will surely achieve our noble goals. We will build a new Uzbekistan together, shoulder to shoulder, in harmony and unity.
I wish you all good health, new successes and happiness on this path.
May the Almighty always support us in all our good intentions!
Thank you for your attention.