Foreign Observers Praised the Elections in Kazakhstan

March 20, 2023

The CIS Election Observation Mission has expressed its gratitude to the Central Election Commission for the high level of organization of the whole election campaign.

Representatives of the CIS Election Observation Mission, which includes the CIS Executive Committee, the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, and the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly, held a briefing at the CEC press center. They shared their general impressions on the elections to Majilis of the Parliament held on March 19, noting that 196 observers from the CIS Election Observation Mission monitored the electoral process. They got acquainted with the work of election commissions in the capital and all regions of the country, reports referring to the press service of the CEC.
Representatives of the Mission emphasized that the elections in the country were held in the framework of the national legislation and with the provision of all opportunities to exercise the right to vote of the citizens. The tremendous work of regional election commissions was noted.

"The election campaign was conducted in a competitive manner and aroused great public interest, which is confirmed, among other things, by the large number of self-nominated candidates and political parties participating in the election race," the statement says.

According to the CIS observers, the Central Election Commission and the local commissions have taken all the necessary measures to prepare and conduct the elections in accordance with the law, and have shown a high level of professionalism and organization of the final election campaign.
As a result of the monitoring, the CIS Mission commended the Central Election Commission for the high level of organization of the entire electoral campaign.

In general, the international experts for monitoring of the electoral process concluded that at all stages of the elections everything was done in line with the requirements of the national legislation and generally accepted international requirements to the organization and conduct of free and democratic elections.

They also stressed that the elections were the end of the electoral marathon that began with the national referendum: "Now we can expect a new round of political and economic development from Kazakhstan".

In general, the early parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan went smoothly, this was the assessment of the electoral campaign given by observers from the OSCE.

Yesterday at the press conference the international observers voiced their preliminary conclusions about the results of early parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan.

The special coordinator and head of short-term OSCE mission on supervision over elections Irene Charalambides has noted that the organization for the last 13 years regularly carries out supervision over the elections taking place in Kazakhstan. And it perceives itself as a friend and partner of our country.
“We have made a commitment to help this beautiful country. More than 300 of our observers worked on Election Day in all regions. On the basis of their observation I am glad to present today our main results, conclusions in the context of reforms which should bring Kazakhstan closer to holding elections in accordance with international standards and OSCE obligations,” she noted.

The Speaker also stressed that the legal framework of Kazakhstan has undergone a number of changes, taking into account the previous recommendations of the ODIHR. Legislative novelties, in particular, ensured the direct election of Majilis deputies, allowed self-nominated candidates to run for election, softened the requirements for party registration and reduced the electoral threshold from 7 to 5%.

The elections have improved competitiveness and boosted political life in general, Irene Charalambides said. But further adjustments to the legal framework are needed to provide a substantial basis for moving toward democratization of the electoral process.

- Overall, the election administration prepared well for the election campaign. The Central Election Commission held regular live sessions and promptly published its decisions, demonstrating transparency. In general, everything went quite smoothly," said the OSCE representative.
However, international observers pointed to the under-representation of women in the election campaign: 29% of all candidates in the proportional race and 20% in the majoritarian elections.

"I hope that women will participate more in elections in the future," said Irene Charalambides.

"Of course, we have witnessed some positive developments, but still much remains to be done. After all, reforms of this scale do not happen overnight, but require real efforts from both the authorities and citizens."

Reinhold Lopatka, head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) delegation, monitored the elections from the opening of the polls in Astana until the tabulation of results. He noted that the level of competition has indeed increased considerably.

"It was a great honor for us to invite here the team of OSCE representatives of 77 parliamentarians, including the president of Parliamentary Assembly and also three vice-presidents. Their presence is a proof of the enthusiastic support that the Parliamentary Assembly provided to the elections in Kazakhstan, we were warmly welcomed in Aktau, Shymkent and Almaty," he shared impressions.

According to him, the introduction of official accreditation for domestic observers is a step forward, of course. Nevertheless, this process is time-consuming. Unfortunately, not all observers from non-governmental organizations had time to pass through the accreditation procedure.

The head of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission, Owen Murphy, said that the mission has been in Kazakhstan for over 40 days. The main team is based in Astana, and long-term observers were deployed in all of the regions back on February 16.

"I myself had the opportunity to visit the different regions as part of our work. I would like to thank the people of Kazakhstan for their hospitality," he said.
The early parliamentary elections gave people a new opportunity to participate, the Speaker said.

"We saw new candidates enter the political arena and actively campaign as well as newly registered political parties. Overall, this majoritarian campaign was more dynamic, had more community involvement and provided alternative proposals," Owen Murphy reported. "The reforms took into account some previous recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. This is to be welcomed and we hope that they will continue."

Among the positive aspects, the speaker also noted the large number of online debates with the participation of political competitors, the involvement of Internet resources, which have provided platforms for opponents to express their views.

Source: Kazakhstanskaya Pravda