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Member States:
Observer States:
11:20Phnom Penh
09:50Sri Dzhayavardenepura Kotte
Statement by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisations Observer Mission on monitoring the preparations for and holding of elections to the Jogorku Kenes
07.10.2020 17:45

Acting atthe invitation ofthe Central Commission forElections and Holding Referendums ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's Observer Mission (hereinafter referred toas the Mission) monitored the preparations forand holding ofelections tothe unicameral Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, held on4 October 2020.

The Mission was chaired bySergei Kryuchek, member ofthe Committee onNatural Resources, Property and Land ofthe State Duma ofthe Federal Assembly ofthe Russian Federation. The Mission included members oflegislative authorities, educational establishments and diplomats fromthe SCO member states.

The Mission regards the invitation ofinternational observers tomonitor the election process asproof ofthe desire ofthe Kyrgyz Republic toensure the parliamentary elections have maximum openness, transparency and a democratic nature.

1. The Mission's activities

The Mission worked underthe SCO Regulations onthe SCO Observer Mission atPresidential and/or Parliamentary Elections and Referendums and the principles ofpolitical neutrality, objectivity and non-interference inthe internal affairs ofthe country inquestion, aswell asin strict compliance withthe laws ofthe Kyrgyz Republic.

Ahead ofthe elections, members ofthe Mission visited a number ofelection commissions inBishkek toassess their readiness forthe elections.

The host country created the necessary conditions formonitoring the preparations forand holding ofelections. Exhaustive information was provided aboutthe election campaign and the accredited observers representing political parties, the general public, international organisations and the media.

The Mission's conclusions are based onpersonal observations conducted bythe Mission staff and factual material collected duringthe preparations forthe election and onthe election day tothe parliament ofthe Kyrgyz Republic.

On the election day, 4 October 2020, the Mission staff arrived atthe polling stations at8 am towatch local officials prepare the ballot papers and the automatic ballot reading boxes.

The Mission staff, who visited over30 polling stations inBishkek, noted a high turnout onthe election day. There were the authorised representatives ofthe candidates, observers frompolitical parties and public associations, aswell as

international organisations and the media present atthe polling stations visited bythe Mission staff.

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

2. Legislative framework forelections

The Constitution ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, the Constitutional Law ofthe Kyrgyz Republic On the Election ofPresident ofthe Kyrgyz Republic and Deputies ofthe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic and other laws and regulations form the basis ofthe legislative framework forelections.

3. Innovations inthe electoral legislation ofthe Kyrgyz Republic

In August 2018, a Strategy forImproving the Electoral Legislation in2018-2020 was adopted inthe Kyrgyz Republic toimprove the election legislation.

The main goal ofthe strategy is toprevent the violation ofthe electoral legislation, improve the protection ofpeople's election rights and reinforce the principle offree and democratic elections.

In addition tothis, inJuly 2020, the Central Election Commission ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, seeking toimprove the election process and introduce liability forviolation ofelection legislation, initiated amendments toKyrgyz laws, inparticular, the Code onMinor Offences, the Code onInfractions, the Criminal Code and the Code ofAdministrative Offences ofthe Kyrgyz Republic.

Other measures have been taken toimprove the organisation ofelections. In particular, the approved amendments postponed the deadlines forfinalising the lists ofcandidates and added an online form forsubmitting applications tochange the election address or personal data viathe voter's account onthe government services' website.

4. Using modern information and digital technologies

The Central Commission forElections and Holding Referendums ofthe Kyrgyz Republic website provided comprehensive coverage ofthe activities ofthe Central Election Commission, and also complete information onthe course ofthe elections.

The access conditions forvoting have been improved. In particular, the Tizme website went online toprovide monthly updates; the timeframe forverifying voters onelectoral lists was increased by20 days, an electronic voter account was organised, and biometric registration was activated.

This election tothe Jogorku Kenesh was the first parliamentary vote that implemented the requirement forthe mandatory posting ofelection programmes on

the official Central Election Commission website. The Candidates and Parties page contains the programmes and general information abouteach party. Another important aspect ofthe elections is the publication offinancial statements byparties and candidates that disclose the source offunding and give details ofall expenditure.

Furthermore, training webinars and videos onthe electoral process have been organised. A single portal was launched where citizens could check their polling station number bysending a text fromtheir mobile phone; citizens ofthe Kyrgyz Republic were also able tofollow the course ofthe election campaign onsocial media and viamobile apps.

To vote, a voter was identified bytheir biometric and personal data scanned byautomatic ballot boxes, which also provided automatic counting and promptly uploaded the voting results tothe Central Election Commission server. The polling stations have been equipped withautomated control systems, inparticular, special equipment inthe voting rooms (booths, monitors, ballot boxes) forvisual control byobservers and representatives ofpolitical parties.

Special sanitary and epidemiological safety measures were adopted due tothe COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic; inparticular, the Central Commission forElections and Referendums ofthe Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry ofHealth ofthe Kyrgyz Republic developed an Algorithm fororganising and holding elections ofdeputies tothe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic duringthis period.

Under this algorithm, onelection day, voters have their temperature taken withcontactless thermometers atthe entrance tothe polling stations and all members ofprecinct election commissions and voters are provided withpersonal protective equipment (facemasks and gloves). They are also required tokeep a distance of1.5 2 metres both outsideand insidethe voting premises.

5. Candidates tothe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic

Sixteen political parties took part inthe elections tothe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic: Birimdik (Unity) democratic party, Mekenchil political party, Yiman Nuru Party ofJustice 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 ofWar Veterans inAfghanistan and Participants ofother 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 candidates 1,294 men and 618 women, 41 candidates withdisabilities, 605 citizens under35 and 326 candidates ofother nationalities.

6. Election campaign

Under the laws ofthe Kyrgyz Republic and the Regulations onthe Procedure forElection Campaigning duringthe Election ofDeputies ofthe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, the pre-election campaign began 30 days beforethe voting day and closed one day before.

Political parties engaged incampaigning onequal terms (using the media, holding mass events incompliance withsocial distancing and sanitary and epidemiological requirements, issuing and distributing campaign booklets and using other formats stipulated inKyrgyz legislation). In addition, extensive advice was provided regarding the rules forconducting election campaigns oncentral television.

7. Conditions forvoters withdisabilities

The necessary conditions were created acrossthe Kyrgyz Republic toensure that people withdisabilities enjoyed equal opportunities when exercising their constitutional rights.

The Central Commission forElections and Holding Referendums ofthe Kyrgyz Republic made a big effort toenable people withdisabilities toexercise their voting rights. In particular, it released 12,400 leaflets ina special format. The Commission's official website offered audio messages forpeople withdisabilities explaining how tocheck voter registration, voting procedures and onexercising voting rights abroad, aswell asa video clip onmeasures toenable people withdisabilities tovote inthe election.

The Commission also printed 2,400 "Call Button" signs so that people withdisabilities could request assistance fromElection Commission members inorder toaccess polling stations.

Moreover, each polling station had one voting booth witha sticker indicating that it was suitable forpeople withdisabilities. These booths were equipped witha magnifying glass and a Braille slate. The Central Election Commission operated a call centre fromits premises, where people withdisabilities served amongthe operators.

As ofthe voting day, 79 percent ofpolling stations were equipped withramps.

8. Election preparations

All the necessary steps toprepare the election tothe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic were carried outas per the Executive Order ofthe President ofthe Kyrgyz Republic Declaring the Election ofDeputies tothe Jogorku Kenesh ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, dated 2 July 2020, aswell asunder the Calendar Plan forthe main events toorganise and hold the election.

The Central Election Commission set up2,450 polling stations acrossthe Kyrgyz Republic, and also 45 polling stations abroad toenable Kyrgyz citizens living abroad toexercise their voting rights.

Accessibility ofpolling stations improved dramatically withthe number ofstations withinstalled ramps increasing from27 percent in2017 to78 percent in2020. A number ofsteps were taken toencourage women and young people tovote.

There were 277 international observers from43 countries monitoring the election. They represented 33 organisations, 77 NGOs and 16 political parties.

9. Key conclusions

Events held aspart ofthe election campaign were carried outopenly and generated extensive media coverage instrict keeping withthe laws ofthe Kyrgyz Republic. Participants inthe electoral process enjoyed equal conditions regardless oftheir party affiliation or political views. Coverage ofall the stages inthe campaign was consistent withthe 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 withthe proactive involvement ofcivil society representatives and empowering people tomake a free and informed choice.

The Mission declares that the election ofdeputies tothe Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) ofthe Kyrgyz Republic was carried outin keeping withthe laws ofthe Kyrgyz Republic and its international commitments.

The Mission has not identified any violations ofnational election law.

The Mission recognises the election ofdeputies tothe Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) ofthe Kyrgyz Republic asopen, free and legitimate.

The Mission notes that the pastelection ofdeputies tothe Jogorku Kenesh is an important step towardsfurther developing democratic processes inthe Kyrgyz Republic.

The Mission congratulates the people ofthe Kyrgyz Republic onthe successful holding ofthe election and wishes them further success instrengthening independence and sovereignty and promoting sustainable socioeconomic development.


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