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Statement by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisationĺs Observer Mission on monitoring the preparations for and holding of elections to the Jogorku Kenes
07.10.2020 17:45

Acting atáthe invitation ofáthe Central Commission foráElections and Holding Referendums ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's Observer Mission (hereinafter referred toáas the Mission) monitored the preparations foráand holding ofáelections toáthe unicameral Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic, held oná4 October 2020.

The Mission was chaired byáSergei Kryuchek, member ofáthe Committee onáNatural Resources, Property and Land ofáthe State Duma ofáthe Federal Assembly ofáthe Russian Federation. The Mission included members ofálegislative authorities, educational establishments and diplomats fromáthe SCO member states.

The Mission regards the invitation ofáinternational observers toámonitor the election process asáproof ofáthe desire ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic toáensure the parliamentary elections have maximum openness, transparency and a democratic nature.

1. The Mission's activities

The Mission worked underáthe SCO Regulations onáthe SCO Observer Mission atáPresidential and/or Parliamentary Elections and Referendums and the principles ofápolitical neutrality, objectivity and non-interference ináthe internal affairs ofáthe country ináquestion, asáwell asáin strict compliance witháthe laws ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic.

Ahead ofáthe elections, members ofáthe Mission visited a number ofáelection commissions ináBishkek toáassess their readiness foráthe elections.

The host country created the necessary conditions forámonitoring the preparations foráand holding ofáelections. Exhaustive information was provided aboutáthe election campaign and the accredited observers representing political parties, the general public, international organisations and the media.

The Mission's conclusions are based onápersonal observations conducted byáthe Mission staff and factual material collected duringáthe preparations foráthe election and onáthe election day toáthe parliament ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic.

On the election day, 4 October 2020, the Mission staff arrived atáthe polling stations atá8 am toáwatch local officials prepare the ballot papers and the automatic ballot reading boxes.

The Mission staff, who visited overá30 polling stations ináBishkek, noted a high turnout onáthe election day. There were the authorised representatives ofáthe candidates, observers fromápolitical parties and public associations, asáwell as

international organisations and the media present atáthe polling stations visited byáthe Mission staff.

Members ofáthe SCO Mission did not receive any complaints or criticism fromáthe candidates' authorised representatives or observers.

2. Legislative framework foráelections

The Constitution ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic, the Constitutional Law ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic On the Election ofáPresident ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic and Deputies ofáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic and other laws and regulations form the basis ofáthe legislative framework foráelections.

3. Innovations ináthe electoral legislation ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic

In August 2018, a Strategy foráImproving the Electoral Legislation iná2018-2020 was adopted ináthe Kyrgyz Republic toáimprove the election legislation.

The main goal ofáthe strategy is toáprevent the violation ofáthe electoral legislation, improve the protection ofápeople's election rights and reinforce the principle ofáfree and democratic elections.

In addition toáthis, ináJuly 2020, the Central Election Commission ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic, seeking toáimprove the election process and introduce liability foráviolation ofáelection legislation, initiated amendments toáKyrgyz laws, ináparticular, the Code onáMinor Offences, the Code onáInfractions, the Criminal Code and the Code ofáAdministrative Offences ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic.

Other measures have been taken toáimprove the organisation ofáelections. In particular, the approved amendments postponed the deadlines foráfinalising the lists ofácandidates and added an online form forásubmitting applications toáchange the election address or personal data viaáthe voter's account onáthe government services' website.

4. Using modern information and digital technologies

The Central Commission foráElections and Holding Referendums ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic website provided comprehensive coverage ofáthe activities ofáthe Central Election Commission, and also complete information onáthe course ofáthe elections.

The access conditions forávoting have been improved. In particular, the Tizme website went online toáprovide monthly updates; the timeframe foráverifying voters onáelectoral lists was increased byá20 days, an electronic voter account was organised, and biometric registration was activated.

This election toáthe Jogorku Kenesh was the first parliamentary vote that implemented the requirement foráthe mandatory posting ofáelection programmes on

the official Central Election Commission website. The Candidates and Parties page contains the programmes and general information aboutáeach party. Another important aspect ofáthe elections is the publication ofáfinancial statements byáparties and candidates that disclose the source ofáfunding and give details ofáall expenditure.

Furthermore, training webinars and videos onáthe electoral process have been organised. A single portal was launched where citizens could check their polling station number byásending a text fromátheir mobile phone; citizens ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic were also able toáfollow the course ofáthe election campaign onásocial media and viaámobile apps.

To vote, a voter was identified byátheir biometric and personal data scanned byáautomatic ballot boxes, which also provided automatic counting and promptly uploaded the voting results toáthe Central Election Commission server. The polling stations have been equipped witháautomated control systems, ináparticular, special equipment ináthe voting rooms (booths, monitors, ballot boxes) forávisual control byáobservers and representatives ofápolitical parties.

Special sanitary and epidemiological safety measures were adopted due toáthe COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic; ináparticular, the Central Commission foráElections and Referendums ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry ofáHealth ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic developed an Algorithm foráorganising and holding elections ofádeputies toáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic duringáthis period.

Under this algorithm, onáelection day, voters have their temperature taken withácontactless thermometers atáthe entrance toáthe polling stations and all members ofáprecinct election commissions and voters are provided withápersonal protective equipment (facemasks and gloves). They are also required toákeep a distance ofá1.5ጠ2 metres both outsideáand insideáthe voting premises.

5. Candidates toáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic

Sixteen political parties took part ináthe elections toáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic: Birimdik (Unity) democratic party, Mekenchil political party, Yiman Nuru Party ofáJustice and Development, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan political party, Reform political party, Ata Meken Socialist Party, Zamandash Political Party, Butun Kyrgyzstan Political Party, Social Democrats Political Party, Meken Yntymagy political party, the Party ofáWar Veterans ináAfghanistan and Participants ofáother Local Battle Conflicts, Ordo political party, Bir Bol State Unity and Patriotism political party, Republic political party, Kyrgyzstan political party, and Chong Kazat political party. These parties nominated and registered 1,912 candidatesጠ1,294 men and 618 women, 41 candidates withádisabilities, 605 citizens underá35 and 326 candidates ofáother nationalities.

6. Election campaign

Under the laws ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic and the Regulations onáthe Procedure foráElection Campaigning duringáthe Election ofáDeputies ofáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic, the pre-election campaign began 30 days beforeáthe voting day and closed one day before.

Political parties engaged inácampaigning onáequal terms (using the media, holding mass events inácompliance withásocial distancing and sanitary and epidemiological requirements, issuing and distributing campaign booklets and using other formats stipulated ináKyrgyz legislation). In addition, extensive advice was provided regarding the rules foráconducting election campaigns onácentral television.

7. Conditions forávoters withádisabilities

The necessary conditions were created acrossáthe Kyrgyz Republic toáensure that people withádisabilities enjoyed equal opportunities when exercising their constitutional rights.

The Central Commission foráElections and Holding Referendums ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic made a big effort toáenable people withádisabilities toáexercise their voting rights. In particular, it released 12,400 leaflets ináa special format. The Commission's official website offered audio messages forápeople withádisabilities explaining how toácheck voter registration, voting procedures and onáexercising voting rights abroad, asáwell asáa video clip onámeasures toáenable people withádisabilities toávote ináthe election.

The Commission also printed 2,400 "Call Button" signs so that people withádisabilities could request assistance fromáElection Commission members ináorder toáaccess polling stations.

Moreover, each polling station had one voting booth witháa sticker indicating that it was suitable forápeople withádisabilities. These booths were equipped witháa magnifying glass and a Braille slate. The Central Election Commission operated a call centre fromáits premises, where people withádisabilities served amongáthe operators.

As ofáthe voting day, 79 percent ofápolling stations were equipped witháramps.

8. Election preparations

All the necessary steps toáprepare the election toáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic were carried outáas per the Executive Order ofáthe President ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic Declaring the Election ofáDeputies toáthe Jogorku Kenesh ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic, dated 2 July 2020, asáwell asáunder the Calendar Plan foráthe main events toáorganise and hold the election.

The Central Election Commission set upá2,450 polling stations acrossáthe Kyrgyz Republic, and also 45 polling stations abroad toáenable Kyrgyz citizens living abroad toáexercise their voting rights.

Accessibility ofápolling stations improved dramatically witháthe number ofástations witháinstalled ramps increasing fromá27 percent iná2017 toá78 percent iná2020. A number ofásteps were taken toáencourage women and young people toávote.

There were 277 international observers fromá43 countries monitoring the election. They represented 33 organisations, 77 NGOs and 16 political parties.

9. Key conclusions

Events held asápart ofáthe election campaign were carried outáopenly and generated extensive media coverage inástrict keeping witháthe laws ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic. Participants ináthe electoral process enjoyed equal conditions regardless ofátheir party affiliation or political views. Coverage ofáall the stages ináthe campaign was consistent witháthe current laws, and the candidates published their programmes, demonstrating that the election campaign was open, transparent and competitive.

The Mission notes that the election was highly competitive and followed an open and transparent election campaign witháthe proactive involvement ofácivil society representatives and empowering people toámake a free and informed choice.

The Mission declares that the election ofádeputies toáthe Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic was carried outáin keeping witháthe laws ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic and its international commitments.

The Mission has not identified any violations ofánational election law.

The Mission recognises the election ofádeputies toáthe Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic asáopen, free and legitimate.

The Mission notes that the pastáelection ofádeputies toáthe Jogorku Kenesh is an important step towardsáfurther developing democratic processes ináthe Kyrgyz Republic.

The Mission congratulates the people ofáthe Kyrgyz Republic onáthe successful holding ofáthe election and wishes them further success inástrengthening independence and sovereignty and promoting sustainable socioeconomic development.

Source: http://eng.sectsco.org/news/20201005/680781.html

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