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EUROPE EXPRESS CONFIDENCE IN KAZAKHSTAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 2015

Posted by European Council on International Relations on April 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM

EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

 

 

 

PRELIMINARY REPORT (pre-election) REGARDING

EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




TABLE OF CONTENTS


 

I. INTRODUCTION.................................................................................... 3

 

II. GENERAL ASSESSMENT.............................................................................................4

 

III. ELECTION CLIMATE ANALYSES ................................................... 7

 

A. FACT ANALYSES................................................................................. 7

B. LEGAL FRAMEWORK......................................................................... 8

C. ELECTION SUPERVISION AND ADMINISTRATION.................................................................................. 10

D. PROCEDURES FOR CANDIDATE NOMINATION AND REGISTRY................................................................................................. 11

E. CAMPAIGN AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE.

ANTI MONEY LAUNDRY PROVISIONS.............................................. 13

 

IV FINAL CONCLUSIONS ON

PRELIMINARY ELECTION OBSERVATION........................................ 15

A. PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS ON EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN KAZAKHSTAN.......................................................16

 

 

 

 

REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

PRELIMINARY REPORT (pre-election) REGARDING

SNAP PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN

 


I. INTRODUCTION


According to an official invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Kazakhstan to observe the 26 April 2015 snap presidential election, the EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS decided to evaluate the political, judicial, legislative and general framework of the early presidential election from 26 April 2015.

The aim of the evaluation process was to assess the pre-election environment and the preparations for the presidential election.

The evaluation process comprised in legislative text analyses, assessment of general political situation in the country and the conformity with general accepted democratic practices and regulation and with bona fide principles.

Taken into account were also: public opinions, statements and discussions expressed by officials from different Kazakhstan institutions and the election and civil administration, as well as official spokespersons from political parties, media outlets, civil society personalities, and the international community.


 

 

II. GENERAL ASSESSMENT

 


According with the law prescriptions the presidential vote will start on 26 April 2015, giving the voters the chance to elect the president for a five-year term.


The law encapsulates also the necessary democratic prescriptions for an open and fair electoral process.


The April 26, 2015 election will be the fourth consecutive national election called on early bases, a supplementary proof of a democratic and viable electoral system.

The laws that are governing the presidential elections are governed by the Constitution, the Constitutional Law on Elections (Election Law), and regulations of the Central Election Commission (CEC).


The assessment process considered that Kazakhstan is a viable and fully committed party to all major international and regional instruments related to the holding of democratic elections and had continuously and full abiding by his international democratic regulations.


There have been no changes to the Election Law since the last elections held in 2011, and we have to mention that in 2011 the Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS had find that the law and regulation governing the electoral process in Kazakhstan are completely corresponding to international laws and regulation insuring a perfect electoral process.


The authorities Kazakhstan authorities underlined in all public statements their nation commitment to conduct elections in compliance with the principles of openness, transparency and fairness.

The election will be administered by a complex and modern system of commissions, composed of Central Electoral Commission and including number of 14 Territorial Election Commissions and the City Election Commissions for Astana`s and Almaty`s regions, 207 District Election Commissions, and more than 9,000 Local Election Commissions (LECs).


The Central Electoral Commission composition and activity is fully independent and in perfect correspondence with international laws and regulations insuring the independence of electoral and monitoring process.


In the list of democratic provisions the Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS noted:

The fact that all citizens over 18 years of age have the right to vote, there is a nationwide electronic voter list to identify duplicate entries.

Presidential candidates are required to be citizens by birth, at least 40 years old, fluent in the state language, and officially resident in Kazakhstan for at least 15 years.


The same recommendation is made on this element as in 2011: The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS considers necessary a general recommendation for all states to include such provisions in their electoral laws insuring a perfect national representations to the highest office of the land.


The Election Law guarantees the right to conduct an unimpeded campaign for or against any candidate.


In the democratic landscape of Kazakhstan, the Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS noted the existence of a powerful independent media, with an impressive number of mass media entities operating in the country.


Also a full independent television network is offering a perfect dialogue and information source.


The Kazakhstan Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and prohibits censorship.


Keeping in mind that no elections can be considered as free and democratic without the presence of international observers the Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS decided to support Kazakhstan electoral process and democratic credential by monitoring and observing all stages of the 2015, 26 April Early Presidential Election in Kazakhstan.

The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS will monitor the full electoral process, candidate registration, and the campaign, media, and Election Day procedures.

 

 


III. ELECTION CLIMATE ANALYSES

 


A. FACT FINDING


Kazakhstan is a fully flagged democratic republic, respecting the equilibrium of powers and balanced distribution of constitutional powers. The president is acting in full respect of the democratic system and the country has a long tradition of political process in a democratic manner and with all the guarantees for an inclusive and democratic process.

The institutional system is offering a perfect balanced voice to parliamentary and representations system.

The 26 April 2015 Early Presidential Election where convened in a perfect transparent and inclusive manner at the request of the highest representative and democratic institution in the country: Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan.

The decision was upheld fully constitutional and legal based by the Constitutional Council.


The democratic initiative for an early presidential election was supported by the Kazakhstan Parliament and, on 25 February, the Kazakhstan President announced the election would be held on 26 April.


As we have mentioned previously the next election will be the fourth consecutive national election to be called early.


On 27 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan stressed the nation’s commitment to conduct a free and fair election in line with the principles of openness, transparency and fairness.

The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS considers that the electoral process is fundamental, in law provisions and spirit and in technical consideration perfectly administered, offering a perfect climate and an open and inclusive and in full fairness political discourse resulted in a perfect competitive electoral environment.

 


B. LEGAL FRAMEWORK


Regarding the previous respect to democratic commitments, the Republic of Kazakhstan has fully respected his international obligations regarding construction of a free electoral consultation.

We must note that: European Council on International Relations has made an in-depth analysis of the electoral law and constitutional framework of the Republic of Kazakhstan during 2011 Kazakhstan Presidential elections.

 


The focus of this analysis where: the mass media law, the election law, the political laws and the Constitutional Law of Kazakhstan and had operated a surveillance of the measure taken by the Central Electoral Commission in order to insure a free and open election atmosphere.


The conclusion of the European Council on International Relations monitoring commission was that: the necessary steps in order to insure an honest and balanced electoral consultation respecting democratic standards were taken by Government of Kazakhstan.


The European Union monitoring mission insured also the Election Day supervision, the supervision of counting and tabulation of elections results in a significant and representative number of sections and commissions.


The conclusions of the committee findings can be summon up as an endorsement of the law and constitutional provisions of Kazakhstan electoral system.


In the 26 April 2015 the same principles and laws are applying as in 2011 elections case.

The primary legal framework for presidential elections includes the Constitution, the Constitutional Law on Elections (Election Law), and regulations of the Central Election Commission (CEC). Other relevant laws include the Law on the President, the Law on Political Parties, the Civil Procedures Code, the Criminal Code, the Administrative Offences Code, the Law on Peaceful Assemblies, and various local regulations related to public assemblies. Kazakhstan is a party to major international and regional instruments related to the holding of democratic elections


The president is directly elected by popular vote in a two-round system. To be elected in the first round of voting, a candidate must receive more than half of all votes cast. If no candidate reaches the required majority, the two candidates receiving the most votes contest a second round within two months of the first round, in which the candidate who receives the higher number of votes is considered elected. A 2007 constitutional amendment reduced the presidential term from seven to five years and exempted the first president – the incumbent President Nazarbayev – from the established limit of two consecutive terms.


In 2010, the first president was given the privileged legal status of Kazakhstan’s „Leader of the Nation” according to a parliamentary vote and respecting the constitutional framework, in a fully law abiding manner.


The incumbent president has been in office since 1991 and had a proven history of respecting the democratic rule of political process and respecting constitutional and legal boundaries.

 


C. ELECTION SUPERVISIONS AND ADMINISTRATION

 


The election will be administered by a four-layer system of election commissions. The election administration comprises the CEC, 14 Territorial Election Commissions and the City Election Commissions of Astana and Almaty (collectively referred to as TECs), 207 District Election Commissions (DECs), and more than 9,000 Local Election Commissions (LECs) including some 65 polling stations abroad.


The Republic of Kazakhstan had acquiesce to the fallowing instrumental accords for up-holding democratic values: the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1979 Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 2003 Convention against Corruption, 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,, and the 2002 Convention on the Standards of Democratic Elections, Electoral Rights and Freedoms in the Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States.


Kazakhstan is also a fully flagged member of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, a supplementary proof of the country definitive election of the democratic ways.


Membership and submission to all the previously noted agreements and treaty are creating a perfect election environment in accordance with international laws.

 


D. PROCEDURES FOR CANDIDATE NOMINATION AND REGISTRY


The Constitution and electoral law are offering the climate for an inclusive and representative participation in the electoral race: the presidential candidate may be nominated through self-nomination or by a public association, including a political party. All equally candidates are required to be citizens by birth, to have at least 40 years old, to be fluent in the Kazakh language (a condition to be observed by the Linguistic Commission, an independent body that should provide its conclusions to the Central Electoral Commission who will make the final decision on candidatures), and to be an officially resident of Kazakhstan for at least 15 years.


The nomination period that had ended on 15 March 2015 had permitted for three candidates to outline their candidature and obtain at least 93,000 valid signatures equally representing at least two-thirds of the regions as well as the cities of Astana and Almaty.


In addition they need to pay an election deposit of 1,060,000 Kazakhstan Tenge (KZT) and present tax declarations for themselves and their spouse.


The necessary prescriptions for barring from standing for office for persons related to crimes of found guilty of corruption-related crimes or administrative offences have being taken.


The language test consists of an examination of prospective candidates‟ reading, writing and speaking abilities.


Three candidates will run in the upcoming early presidential elections in Kazakhstan after law provisions: the incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the challenger from the Communist People’s Party Turgun Syzdykov and self-nominee Abelgazi Kusainov, according to a report from the Central Election Commission.


The time for submission of applications for participation in the presidential election in Kazakhstan ended on March 15.


According to the CEC secretary Bakhyt Meldeshov, as of 2015, March 16, the CEC got 27 applications.


The CEC decided to refuse registration to Limana Koishiyeva, Kanat Turageldiyev, Zharylkap Kalybai and Khasen Kozha-Akhmet, who all successfully passed the Kazakh language but failed to provide all the law required documents.

The CEC also denied registration to six candidates for the presidency of Kazakhstan for failing to appear for the Kazakh language exam which is mandatory under the law): self-nominees Yakobzhan Dzhunisbekov, Kairat Maishev, Aigul Utepova, Kanat Yeszhanov, Amantai Kazhy and Birzhan Dilmagambetov.


Mels Yeleusizov, Zhaksybai Bazilbayev and Mukhamedrakhim Kursabayev withdrew their candidacies on their own, a move the CEC approved.


The registration of candidates came to an end on March 25.


As of 2015 March 26, three candidates have the right to proceed with the election campaigning: Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turgun Syzdykov and Abelgazi Kusainov.


Conclusion: Under the full scrutiny of the democratic process in Kazakhstan, The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS considers that the period of registrations of candidature and the provisions of the law have being full respected and all the necessary procedural steps have being address insuring a perfect democratic character to the first phase of the election procedures.


Recommendation: The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS considers that a higher number of signatures on the candidate’s signature list will be a beneficial addition offering a better selection of serious candidates.

 

 


E. CAMPAIGN AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE.

ANTI MONEY LAUNDRY PROVISIONS

 


The election campaign starts on 26 March, the day after the end of candidate registration, and lasts until 24 April, when the silence period starts.


The Election Law guarantees citizens and public associations the right to conduct an unimpeded campaign for or against any candidate. Local authorities are mandated to provide space for the placement of campaign posters on an equal basis and candidates may also post materials on


To finance their campaign, the CEC informed that each candidate is entitled to receive a minimum of KZT seven million (some EUR35,000) from the state budget. In addition, candidates are allowed to use their own funds and accept donations from citizens and organizations, as well as funds from the nominating body, up to a combined total of KZT 577 million.7


Foreign and anonymous donations are prohibited. Candidates are obliged to open dedicated bank accounts for these funds. The banks should notify the CEC if the spending limits are exceeded. Five days after the announcement of the election results, candidates are obliged to submit a report on their campaign finance to the election administration.


The CEC adopted a resolution on the campaign expenditures to be covered from the state budget. Each candidate is provided with funds for a fifteen minutes speech on TV, a ten-minute speech on the radio, as well as to publish two articles in printed newspapers.


According to the CEC the amount of funding provided to candidates for their election campaigning in the media was calculated based on the existing rates provided by the Committee for Communications, Computerization and Information of the Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan.


“Funds in the amount of 5,250,000 tenge ($28,237) are allocated to the candidates for a 15-minute speech.


For the 10-minute presentation of the program on the radio each candidate receives 200,000 tenge ($1,075). To publish two printed articles each candidate receives 810,000 tenge ($4,356). Candidates will also receive funds to rent premises for meetings with voters in the amount of 200,000 tenge and another 250,000 tenge ($1,345) to print out campaign materials. Each of the registered candidates will receive 300,000 tenge ($1,613) for travel expenses,” the CEC said.


Conclusions: The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS stated that offering a full financial support and insuring transparency and strict supervision policies are all decisions destined to discouraging money laundry, political corruption and in offering a fare and equal based financial support for all candidates, a fundamental base of democratic elections.


The Election Law is the main legal source addressing candidate rights to campaign in the media, providing equal access to state-funded airtime and print space, as well as the right to purchase additional airtime and space. Each candidate is entitled to 15 minutes of free airtime on television, 10 minutes of free airtime on radio, and 2 free articles in newspapers. For paid advertisement, all media are obliged to provide the price list of paid advertisements to the CEC, no later than 10 days after the election is announced.

 

 


IV. FINAL CONCLUSIONS ON PRELIMINARY ELECTION OBSERVATION


One of the most important aspects in organizing internationally recognized and valid electoral process is the presence of international and internally accepted monitors.


According to Central Electoral Commission a number of 10.000 internal registered observers will by surveying the poll and number of 1.000 international monitors will also insure a country wide supervision of the electoral process.


The Kazakhstan Election Law provides for international and citizen observers, as well as authorized representatives of registered candidates. There is an accreditation procedure and observers are required to present a letter from their nominating organization and their identification documents to the election commission where they will observe the process.


We consider that the electoral system is offering the checks and balances necessary to insure a perfect democratic consultation.

 

 


A. PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS ON EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN KAZAKHSTAN

 


The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS considers that can offer the assistance and to support the deployment of an Election Observation Mission for the upcoming early presidential election (26 April 2015) as Kazakhstan has fulfilled all his legal obligation on holding open, free, fair and equal opportunity driven elections.


The conclusion of the EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS monitoring Committee was that: the necessary steps in order to insure an honest and balanced electoral consultation respecting democratic standards were fully taken by The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


The Election Monitoring Committee of EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS will follow the Election Day process countrywide, and will supervise the Election Day activities, including voting, counting, and tabulation of results.

 

 

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