Kyrgyzstan's Oct. 10 parliamentary elections were conducted in a democratic, transparent and peaceful manner, according to the findings of the country's leading domestic election monitoring organization, the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, as well as the international monitoring group the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO). ENEMO is a network of nonpartisan election monitoring groups from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
The elections were the first held under the country's new constitution, which was endorsed overwhelmingly by citizens in a June 27 referendum. The new constitution establishes a semi-parliamentary system by increasing parliamentary power in relation to the president. The elections offered Kyrgyzstan's citizens an opportunity to choose their representatives through a competitive, democratic voting process, which involved 29 parties competing for 120 seats.
The coalition, with assistance from NDI, conducted both long- and short-term election monitoring efforts. During the pre-election period, the coalition deployed 107 long-term observers to all 56 districts of Kyrgyzstan. On election day, the group fielded 1,000 observers to conduct a systematic, rapid observation of a random sample of 500 polling stations — the first statistically-based observation, or parallel vote tabulation, ever conducted in Kyrgyzstan.
The coalition noted in its preliminary statement that the elections "were held in a free, transparent and peaceful atmosphere," and that, in comparison with previous elections, "these elections are a step forward."
Coalition observers noted a number of positive findings. Voters were interested and active during the election period; the government took essential measures to provide public security at all polling stations; there were political party pollwatchers in 80 percent of polling stations, which contributed to transparent and open processes on election day; and in 92 percent of the polling stations, no major violations occurred during the vote count.
The coalition also noted several problems, including substandard voters' lists, instances of voting without proper documents, violations of inking procedures, and bribery of voters. The coalition noted, however, that these were not systematic on a national level. At the regional level, some violations were more prevalent. For example, bribing of voters was observed in 18 percent of polling stations in Osh province, or oblast. Turnout was unusually high in certain areas of Osh city, Bishkek and Jalal-Abad oblast.
The coalition's parallel vote tabulation projections tracked closely with the Central Election Commission's (CEC) results. The coalition found that five parties exceeded the national 5 percent threshold: Ata-Jurt, the Social Democratic party, Ar Namys, Respublika and Ata Meken. The election code states that a party can gain seats in the parliament only if attains a minimum of 5 percent of votes based on the number of voters included on the national voters' list.
The coalition states that is has "confidence in the CEC's tabulation and that the CEC will thoroughly investigate any complaints regarding the increase of voters in the final voters' list and any other issues officially filed by contestants." The coalition continues to monitor the post-election period, including the investigation and adjudication of complaints.
With NDI assistance, ENEMO fielded 23 short-term observers from leading election monitoring groups from 16 countries across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The observers visited 293 polling stations in all seven of Kyrgyzstan's oblasts.
In its preliminary statement, ENEMO concluded that, overall, the parliamentary elections were conducted democratically and peacefully, despite cases of irregularities during voting and vote counting procedures on election day. ENEMO observers reported major violations or fraud in only four out of 293 polling stations observed. The most common problems observed were poor performance by precinct election commission members, violations of ballot secrecy, inaccurate voters' lists and the presence of unauthorized persons in polling stations.
For future elections, ENEMO's recommendations included improving the training of election commission members at every level, regularly updating the voter registry, and revising the electoral thresholds to be based on the number of votes cast instead of the number of registered voters.
- The coalition's findings on the tabulation process using statistically-based observation, English» | Russian»
- Preliminary statement from the coalition, English» | Russian»
- Preliminary statement from ENEMO, English» | Russian»
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Pictured above: Coalition headquarters receives calls from observers on election day.
Published Oct. 19, 2010