Kyrgyzstan’s government on Tuesday rejected a move by opposition lawmakers to pass a new constitution, calling it an attempt to seize power illegally, The Associated Press reports.

“This is an open intention to seize power in an unconstitutional way,” the government said in a statement.

The statement followed five days of anti-government rallies and an extraordinary overnight session of a rump parliament, in which 38 opposition deputies signed a new constitution that would curtail the powers of the president.

The opposition, which had declared the creation of a constituent assembly to draft the new basic law, claimed that the 38 signatures were enough to make the draft law because it was a majority of the 75-seat legislature.

It was the latest opposition challenge to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in Kyrgyzstan’s deepest political crisis since the March 2005 uprising that brought the current leadership to power on pledges of political reform. The opposition says Bakiyev has not delivered on those promises.

“The opposition forces have chosen the way of radical actions. The use of pressure on the government and provoke a political crisis in the country,” the government statement said. “The parliament has already been split in two halves, its work paralyzed.”

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