The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights published an interim report on the elections to Mazhilis of Kazakhstan on its website.
On the Conduction of the Election Campaign
The report states that the campaign looks lively, particularly online and in single mandate constituencies with a large number of candidates, and due to the presence of two new political parties contesting the election.
"Parties and candidates organize meetings in closed rooms, mostly in workplaces, use posters and billboards, and maintain an active social media presence," ODIHR noted.
The document also states that no single topic or issue has dominated the campaign so far, with participants focusing on a wide range of social and economic issues, including rising food prices, housing, urban safety and comfort, agriculture, political and economic reforms, support for small and medium-sized businesses, the rule of law, good governance, environmental concerns, national independence and sovereignty.
The ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM) monitored the online campaigns of all parties, individual candidates, and Influencers on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. According to observers, Instagram has been the most used platform so far. Parties are using their accounts to post original content as well as to re-post their candidates' content, consisting mostly of event videos, photos and campaign posters.
"Some prominent YouTube channels have set aside space for campaign discussion and invited candidates to debate. In a show of support, prominent independents with large numbers of subscribers have offered online space and promoted independent candidates from other and sometimes their own constituencies," the report notes.
It is also reported that the ODIHR election observation mission began monitoring six broadcasts and six online media outlets.
About the Complaints and Appeals
The Organization reminded that the legal framework for elections provides for solving disputes by the electoral bodies, specialized administrative courts and the Supreme Court. The general deadline for filing complaints against decisions of the election administration is 10 days.
Election commissions have five days to consider complaints and three days to consider appeals against decisions of lower-level commissions. CEC decisions are appealed to the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court. Complaints can be filed with election commissions and courts through an electronic system, and there is an opportunity to attend court sessions online, which, according to ODIHR EOM interlocutors, greatly facilitates the process.
"Although the CEC maintains a database of complaints and other communications it receives, this information is not publicly available. At the request of the EOM, ODIHR received an extract from the CEC database containing some 248 applications, most of which were requests for clarification of legal provisions related to observer accreditation, campaigning issues and candidate nomination. So far, the regional administrative courts have received a limited number of complaints against DEC decisions related to electoral transparency and candidate nomination," the report notes.
In several regions, specialized administrative courts overturned decisions of district election commissions to reject the nomination of candidates in single-mandate districts due to their narrow interpretation of the 10-year residency requirement. After this judicial precedent and the subsequent clarification by the CEC, many district election commissions changed their practices.