Between 28 of March and 6 April 2011 a European Union delegation from European Council on International Relations has realized the election monitoring for Kazakhstan presidential poll.
The monitoring mission was realized based on an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan. Between 28 of February and 28 of March the Monitoring commission has under scrutiny 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 preliminary conclusion of the Kazakhstan monitoring mission was publicly presented on 4 April 2011 in a press conference at Ramada Hotel in Astana by Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of European Council on International Relations . The press conference included the presentation of Preliminary Monitoring Report for 3 April Presidential Elections and official presentation of data collected on election day and on tabulation phase, the conclusion being that the Monitoring Commission is endorsing the Kazakhstan elections as representing the free and democratically expressed voice of Kazakh people decision.
The European union report endorsing the free and fair character of Kazakhstan elections was presented on 4 April at 14:00 hour being fallowed at 16:00 by the Report of European Parliamentary Assembly endorsing also the democratic process of elections held in Kazakhstan and at 18:00 hours by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization report also supporting the elections result.
Finally Professor Dr. Anton Caragea held the honor of speaking on Security and Proximity Policy of European Union at Euro-Asian University.
This honor was previously awarded to Hillary Clinton, George Bush jr.-United States President and Prince of Norway- Haakon and President Emil Constantinescu of Romania.
The meeting with students and professors of university had marked a two hours dialogue on European Union realities and mechanism bringing closer Central Asia and Europe.
The final report of monitoring mission of presidential election held in Kazakhstan was read in a double and concomitant ceremony in Bucharest and Brussels on 12 of April 2011.
In the presence of Diplomatic Corp and a huge audience , Professor Dr. Anton Caragea , President of European council on International Relations has presented the Final Report of EU Monitoring Mission concluding that :
The Election Process was on all his duration and in all his faze in conformity with international standards , international accepted norms and Copenhagen Criteria and is recognizing the April 3 Presidential Elections in Kazakhstan as free , fair , open and in complying with democratic values and criteria’s.
Today democratic and prosperous Kazakhstan is building a new euro-asian relation. Once Kazakhstan had obtained the democratic credentials European Union is having a stabile and open partner in Central Asia. The involvement of European Council on International Relations in supporting democratic process in Kazakhstan is a new bridge that is uniting the two countries.
Preliminary Report of Monitoring Mission of Early Presidential Elections in Kazakhstan. 3 April 2011
28 February 2011 – 28 March 2011
Main information`s regarding Kazakhstan Presidential Poll – April 2011
Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, announced on 4 February 2011 the start of early presidential election for 3 April 2011. This decision followed a citizens’ initiative for a referendum which would have extended president’s term in office until 2020.
• Four candidates will contest the election, out of 22 initial self- appointees.
A number of opposition parties and leaders decided not to participate and/or called for a boycott, claiming the absence of conditions for a meaningful election and a short time for campaigning as the key reasons.
The Commission put in place by Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan finds this claims to be unfounded as the date of elections was announced in the same manner and made publicly available for all contenders, also the election law and all relevant prescription are applying equally to all participants in the 3 of April Presidential race.
A special date, set specially to accommodate some opposition party and candidates will be unfair and must be rejected as unfounded claim.
• The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan was especially satisfied with the introduction of the mandatory Kazakh-language test for presidential candidate.
Such a transparent method to select on educational and necessary language knowledge the candidates was considered as relevant and pertinent and the Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan will support the introduction of such mandatory examination in electoral legislation of OSCE and European Union members’ state.
• The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan salutes the amendments to Election Law, amendments that where enforced 2009 and February 2011. These amendments reflected previous concern and recommendations previously offered by Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation of Romania and the legal framework is satisfactory insuring free, open and democratic elections with inclusive citizen, mass media and civil society participation.
• The election in Kazakhstan are under the administration of the Central Election Commission (CEC), 16 Territorial Election Commissions (TEC), 207 District and Town Election Commissions (DEC) and some 9,725 Precinct Election Commissions (PEC).
The CEC is active in making preparations for this election and training lower-level commissions.
The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan finds that the correct representation of political parties in election commissions is observed and the equal based representation of political parties, interested citizens and observers in these commissions is respected.
• The number of registered voters is around 9.1 million. Voters are able to check their records in the voter list, including by e-mail.
• The official campaign began on 3 March.
• The Commission of Institute of international Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan observes that the media operate in an open and fair environment and the necessary legal provisions to insure transparent information`s and mass media freedom are respected
Especially we emphasized that, in order to insure fairness and openness in the mass media coverage for all participants in the electoral process, the Election Law provides candidates with direct media access through state funded and paid airtime and print space.
His Excellency President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on 4 February 2011 signed a decree for an early presidential election to take place on 3 April.
Following an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan started his work.
A. BRIEF HISTORY
The call for presidential election comes in the aftermath of a citizens’ initiative to hold a referendum which would have extended the term of incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev until 2020 an initiative that was supported by Kazakhstan Parliament.
Between 26 December 2010 and 14 January 2011, over five million signatures were reportedly collected in favor of the referendum.
On 7 January, the President of Kazakhstan has rejected parliament’s call to hold the referendum, but on 14 January the Parliament adopted the law on changes to the Constitution, providing the basis for holding a referendum to extend the first president’s term of office.
The President expressed his concern over the constitutionality of these proposed amendments and referred them to the Constitutional Council, which ruled
On 31 January that the law was unconstitutional as it was too vague on the terms of extension.
Following this ruling, the President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed that new and early presidential election be held. On 3 February, parliament adopted the constitutional amendments to allow the president to call an early presidential poll and the next day, President Nursultan Nazarbayev set the final election date for 3 April 2011.
Conclusions: The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan conclude that the call for early elections comes from a genuine democratic desire to refer to the people the fundamental governmental decision. During this process president Nazarbayev prove to respect democratic mechanism and separation of powers in the state and we specially appreciate the submitting of contentious law to the Constitutional Court.
In conclusion the Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan considers that the election where called on an democratic manner ,respecting the political and state laws and mechanism and are fulfilling the necessary democratic credentials .
B. ELECTION SYSTEM IN KAZAKHSTAN.
The legal elections framework includes such acts as: the Constitution, the Constitutional Provisions on Elections (Election Law), and decisions and regulations of the CEC.
Other relevant elections laws and regulations are, among others Law on Political Parties, Criminal Code, Administrative Offences Code, Civil Procedure Code and
Law on Peaceful Assemblies.
The Constitution guarantees fundamental civil and political rights necessary to conduct of democratic elections.
C. ELECTION SUPERVISION
The election is administered by complex and inter-responsibility system of election commissions comprising the CEC, 16 TEC units, 2 207 DEC units, and 9,725 PEC units.
The local election commissions have a seven members composition and are appointed for a period of five years; TEC units, DEC units and PEC units are only active during election periods.
The CEC chair office and two members are appointed by the president, while the Senate and the Madjilis (the lower house of Parliament) appoint two CEC members each. TEC, DEC and PEC members are appointed by the respective mashlikhate (local councils), based on proposals of registered political parties.
The CEC mission is to supervise the electoral preparations, it holds regular sessions open to the public and attended by media and observers, and provides weekly press briefings, and maintains an information internet channel.
The CEC has fulfilled his tasks such as carrying out extensive training of lower-level commissions and provided instructions and manuals for TEC, DEC and PEC members.
The CEC is also conducting a comprehensive voter education campaign.
D. THE MASS MEDIA SITUATION
The Kazakhstan Constitution is clearly prohibits censorship and guarantees freedom of speech and the right to freely receive and disseminate information by any means not prohibited by law.
We specially draw attention to Article 27.7 of Election Law that obliges media to provide “unbiased” coverage of the election campaign of candidates and political parties.
The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan is satisfied by the law provision that is insuring the fairness of mass media coverage to all participants and also with the CEC and the Ministry of Information and Communication information’s that state-owned and commercial media outlets are obliged to cover the candidates in the news for the same length of time and with the same tone.
E. PROVISIONS FOR PROTECTIONS OF WOMEN AND NATIONAL MINORITIES
The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan is satisfied with the Constitution and Election Law that are providing the basis for equal participation of women and men in the electoral process.
Taking in the consideration these preliminary findings, the Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan supports the decision to send an Electoral Observers Team in Kazakhstan on short time supervision for the election period.
The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan considers satisfactory the efforts of Kazakhstan Government for insuring an open and fair climate , with equal opportunities for all candidates and with mass media and international and domestic observers presence .
The Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan considers that preliminary measures are in accordance with international law and elections provisions and the democratic nature of Kazakhstan electoral process is self evident.
On 28 of March 2011 the Commission of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan presented the public preliminary report regarding the pre-election monitoring of Kazakhstan Presidential poll.
Professor Anton Caragea presented the main high-lights of the report: Kazakhstan electoral law, Kazakhstan electoral commission activities and mass media and domestic and international observer’s presence for the poll.
The preliminary assessment of the preparation for Presidential Election in Kazakhstan is that: ″Kazakhstan Government is insuring an open and fair climate, with equal opportunities for all candidates and with mass media and international and domestic observers’ presence and we consider that preliminary measures are in accordance with international law and elections provisions and the democratic nature of election process in Kazakhstan is self evident″.
A clear endorsement of the Kazakhstan pre-election preparation to hold free and open Presidential elections is the conclusion of the IRICE Commission for preparing the Monitoring Mission in Republic of Kazakhstan.
Based on this report Professor Anton Caragea accepted to lead a monitoring mission for Kazakhstan Presidential Election. This the eight such mission and the second in Kazakhstan all of the mission being a success and in six of this missions the final report of IRICE was accepted as an European document and evaluation report .
In 2007 a delegation from Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation has supervised the elections for Madjilis ( the Lower House of Kazakhstan Parliament ) in august 2007 with a great success supporting the democratic process in Kazakhstan.
″We are not accepting such a monitoring mission if we don’t have the confidence that the organizing state is committed in respecting fundamental values and democratic process″, declared Professor Anton Caragea, IRICE director. Romanian support and commitment for Kazakhstan democratic process and development is a long term commitment and the Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation of Romania decision in strengthening relations between Romanian and Kazakhstan is unwavering stated professor Anton Caragea.
Romania has being a long side Kazakhstan in 2010 , when Kazakhstan held the Chair office of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and we have organized the OSCE Bucharest Conference. Kazakhstan Presidency to send a public message to international community that Kazakhstan Presidency of OSCE will be a success and the message was acknowledge as such.
Today we are sending a new message , Kazakhstan is on a democratic path , is building free and open elections, is offering to the Kazakh people a clear chance to vote ,choose and express their views in a transparent manner. ″The pre-election commitments are clear and fulfilled by Kazakhstan government and we will be on the spot to monitor and the final step of the election: Election Day and election results″ declared Professor Dr. Anton Caragea director of Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation.
On March 3, the four candidates officially launched their campaigns for the April 3 early presidential election, after they fulfilled legal requirements, including the collection of signatures of at least one percent of registered voters and passing the Kazakh language test.
According to Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission (CEC), which ended the registration of presidential candidates at midnight on March 2, 2011, the four candidates whose names will appear on the ballot, will include the incumbent, President Nursultan Nazarbayev representing the Nur Otan Party, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov from the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (CPPK), Mels Yeleussizov from the Tabigat (Nature) Environmental Union, and Gani Kassymov, put forward by Kazakhstan Patriots’ Party.
A total of 11 candidates sought registration, including seven self-nominees. The CEC denied registration to four self-nominees for not presenting all necessary documents, while the remaining three candidates decided to withdraw from the race.
As announced on March 3, the CEC has established a public council to review information disputes in the early presidential elections scheduled for April 3. The public council is created to peer review information disputes arising during the pre-election campaign and is an advisory body to the CEC. The member of the Central Election Comission, Lyazzat Suleiman, heads the council.
Nursultan Nazarbayev was the first candidate registered by the CEC after having presented a total of 717,000 signatures. The incumbent President was born on July 6, 1940, in the Almaty Oblast. From 1960 to 1969, he worked at the Karaganda Metallurgical Combine, where he completed a technical college in 1967. Till 1979, Nazarbayev held various positions within the Karaganda Oblast Communist Party Committee, while from 1979-1990, he served as Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan (CCCPK), Chairman of the Kazakh SSR Council of Ministers, First Secretary of the CCCPK, and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR. In April 1990, Nazarbayev became Kazakhstan’s first President and remained so after winning all the following elections.
As it follows from Nazarbayev’s latest state-of-the-nation speech and his address at the 13th Nur Otan Congress, if elected, he aims to promote a new social policy that will lead to “high income, strong health, comfortable housing, and successful employment.” Nazarbayev promises to reduce the unemployment level to 5 percent in the following ten years and implement 294 investment projects by 2014 that will result in hundreds of thousands of new jobs. He also promises to improve the quality and accessibility of public health and education, as well as improve housing conditions. As for the economy, the incumbent will continue to promote its growth and seek to make Kazakhstan one of the most competitive countries in the world. Nazarbayev also foresees the continuation of political modernisation, while ensuring peace, tranquility, and security in the society. Last but not least, Nazarbayev asserts that Kazakhstan will continue to run a responsible and active foreign policy.
On March 3, Nazarbayev announced he will not be campaigning as such, deciding instead to focus on his day to day work.
Zhambyl Akhmetbekov was registered on February 26 following the handing over of 105,000 signatures. Akhmetbekov was born on February 11, 1961, in the former Tselinograd Oblast (present Akmola Oblast). In 1983, he graduated from the Agricultural Mechanization Faculty of the Tselinograd Agricultural Institute and worked as a farm mechanic. From 1987 to 1990, Akhmetbekov was an instructor of the ideological department of Kurgaldzhyn district’s Communist Party Committee and held different positions at the district administration up to 1998. In 1991 to 1994, he also studied at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research. In 1998-2005, Akhmetbekov worked at the Akmola regional military lyceum and district education department. Since September 2005, he has been the Chief of Staff of the Central Committee of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan. In March 2007, Akhmetbekov was elected Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party.
Akhmetbekov’s pre-election platform was approved at the 5th congress of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (CPPK) on February 14. With regards to the economy, the Party promises to ensure the transparency of state-run companies and nationalise the energy, petroleum, and mining industries, as well as the rail and air transport. The Party also proposes to limit the export of raw materials such as cotton, wool, hides, timber, and introduce quotas for the export of ferrous and nonferrous metals. The election programme also covers the eradication of corruption. “We will find a path of development in which natural and raw resources will fully contribute to the growth of economic power and wealth,” the election platform states. The Party calls for renouncing the policy of “economy first, politics second,” by saying that the economic transformation entirely derives from the political process.
The CEC registered Mels Yeleussizov and Gani Kassymov, who collected 97,830 and 99,728 signatures respectively, on the same day, February 28. Mels Yeleussizov was born in Almaty in 1950. After school, he served in the Soviet Army from 1968 to 1970 and worked as a flight attendant in the Almaty united squadron. In 1981, Yeleussizov graduated from the Law Faculty of the present Al-Farabi University in Almaty. In the 1982-1989, he worked as Deputy Director of the Production Association Zerger and senior engineer at a military farm. In 1989-1991, he was engaged in social activities within the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement and Public Committee for Saving Aral and Lake Balkhash. From 1991 to present, Yeleussizov chairs the Environmental Union Tabigat (Nature). He ran for presidency in 2005 and won 0.28 percent of the vote.
Yeleussizov’s programme highlights efforts to develop an environmentally safe country, but also reflects the issues of democracy, economy, and culture. At a press conference in Almaty, where Yeleussizov announced his candidacy, he said that the main purpose of his participation in the election is to draw citizens’ attention to the environmental issues in Kazakhstan.
Gani Kassymov was born on May 3, 1950, in the Guriev city, present Atyrau, west Kazakhstan, in a family of teachers. In 1974, he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations with a degree in international relations and began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kazakh SSR. In 1981, he became Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as of May 1990 served as adviser to the President of the Kazakh SSR. In 1992, Kassymov headed the International Department of the President’s Office. In 1994, he became Trade and Economic Representative of Kazakhstan in France. From 1996 to 2002, Kassymov was Chairman of Kazakhstan’s newly created State Customs Committee. In 1999, he ran for president and received about 4 percent of the vote. In 2007, Kassymov was appointed deputy of Senate of the Parliament by the President, as part of the presidential quota.
Kassymov’s election campaign is aimed primarily at improving the political and state structure. The pre-election platform is extensive and covers the political system and all that relates to government institutions, including the Parliament, political parties, and judicial and law enforcement bodies, Kassymov told the Khabar News Agency on March 3. He also considers it essential that the country has a Vice-President position. “I will propose suggestions and ideas with respect to what kind of government structure we should have. This will be related to political parties, social and political life in the country, and the Parliament,” Kassymov said.
ASTANA, 1 March 2011 - The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today opened an election observation mission for the 3 April early presidential election in Kazakhstan.
The mission, headed by Ambassador Daan Everts, was established following an invitation from the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan. It comprises 15 experts, based in Astana and Almaty, and 28 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country a month ahead of the elections.
In addition, ODIHR will request that OSCE participating States provide 400 short-term observers, who will arrive several days before election day. They will observe the opening of polling stations, voting, counting of ballots, and the tabulation of results.
The mission will assess the election for compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, as well as with domestic legislation. Observers will closely monitor campaign activities, the legislative framework and its implementation, the media situation, the work of the election administration and relevant state bodies, as well as the resolution of election disputes.
The ODIHR election observation mission will join efforts with the delegation of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
A statement of preliminary findings and conclusions will be issued on the day after the election. A final report on the observation of the entire electoral process will be issued about eight weeks after the end of the observation mission.
The ODIHR election observation mission and the OSCE Center in Astana operate separately under their specific mandates.
According to the established practice, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry will recommend and then submit to the Central Election Commission (CEC) lists of foreign journalists coming to Astana to cover the vote.
The Central Election Commission has opened accreditation for observers on February 7 with a deadline set for March 28, 2011.
International reporters should take note that accreditation for foreign media representatives ends on March 20, 2011.
There is a special procedure for reporters to be entitled to fully participate in covering the event. To observe the election process, representatives of international mass media must have a certificate of permanent or interim accreditation issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This leads to the necessity for foreign media to apply documents for MFA accreditation in advance, as the accreditation ends on March 20, 2011.
While doing their job, an international observer or a foreign reporter may be accompanied by an interpreter who should also carry a valid identity document.
One can learn more on how to get accredited by visiting Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry website at: https://portal.mfa.kz/portal/page/portal/mfa/en/content/press/rules or contacting the MFA Press Office at +7 7172 72 01 48, 72 01 47.
For more information on elections and voting, one can visit the CEC web site at:
http://election.kz/portal/page?_pageid=153,1&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTALClick to add text, images, and other content
In Kazakhstan, active phase of preparations for the April 3 early presidential elections has started.
According to the established practice, Kazakhstan’s diplomatic missions will serve as polling stations to collect votes from the citizens of Kazakhstan living abroad on the day of elections. Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry also is to recommend and then submit to the Central Election Commission (CEC) lists of international observes willing to monitor the upcoming election, including foreign journalists coming to Astana to cover the vote.
The Central Election Commission has opened accreditation for observers on February 7 with a deadline set for March 28, 2011.
International reporters should take note that accreditation for foreign media representatives ends on on March 20, 2011.
There is a special procedure for foreign representatives to become an observer, as well as for reporters to be entitled to fully participate in covering the event:
- The Central Election Commission will not accept accreditation applications from private persons from foreign states.
- Persons are not eligible for accreditation due to having political, economic or other interests in the Republic of Kazakhstan, or in case of earlier revocation of accreditation due to violation of the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan, laws of foreign states or universally accepted principles and norms of international law.
- People with no practice or experience in observation of the election process, or those who had been found guilty of criminal offence, corruption practice or other illegal activities during the election period five years prior to submission of application for accreditation are also not eligible to participate as observers.
- Observers from foreign states and international organizations may not use their status for conducting activities that are not related to the process of monitoring the election in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Central Election Commission issues a foreign observer an identity card of an established format, which entitles him or her to perform their activities during the preparation and the day of the election. This identity card is valid only if accompanied by the official identification document of a person.
While doing their job, an international observer or a foreign reporter may be accompanied by an interpreter who should also carry a valid identity document.
For more information, one can visit the CEC web site at:
To observe the election process, representatives of international mass media must have a certificate of permanent or interim accreditation issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This leads to the necessity for foreign media to apply documents for MFA accreditation in advance, as the accreditation ends on March 20, 2011.
One can learn more on how to get accredited by visiting Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry website at:
The nomination period for the early presidential election in Kazakhstan ended on Sunday evening, February 20. Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission (CEC) reports that a total of 22 candidates were nominated for the presidential poll that will take place on 3 April 2011.
Three of the candidates were appointed by political parties. These include incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev representing the Nur Otan party, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov from the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan, and Gani Kassymov from the Party of Patriots of Kazakhstan.
The rest of the applicants are self-nominees, according to the CEC. Six of them, however, were denied registration due to their failure to pass the Kazakh language examination, while another two nominees withdrew from the race. Thus, there are now 10 self-promoted candidates.
As virtually all observers predict an overwhelming victory for the incumbent President Nazarbayev, one of the self-nominees Mels Eleussizov, Chairman of Environmental Union Tabigat (Nature), believes that the fight for the second place in the early election will be between him and Gani Kassymov, leader of the Party of Patriots. “If Gani Kassymov had not announced his candidacy, I would have come second in the early election,” Interfax-Kazakhstan quotes Eleussizov as having announced at a regular meeting of the sociopolitical discussion club AytPark in Almaty. Eleussizov said that he is willing to participate in the election despite being convinced of his lack of chances to win because he has “a set of issues and many suggestions” that he wants to explain people during the campaign. Both Gani Kassymov and Mels Eleussizov have previous experience of participating in the presidential elections in 1999 and 2005.
Compared to past elections, the current campaign demonstrates an increase in the number of presidential nominees, according to the CEC Chairman Kuandyk Turgankulov. This “indicates an increase in civic activism,” Turgankulov said during a national seminar on holding early presidential elections that was held in Astana on February 21.
Representatives of regional, as well as Astana and Almaty election commissions, and political parties attended the event.
As it was announced during the meeting, the Kazakh Government has allocated KZT 4 billion 706 million for the upcoming election. Compared with actual expenditures during the 2005 election, demand for cash has increased by KZT 1 billion 697 million. This is explained by inflation, as well as increase in the cost of the election commissions’ activities.
The sum of funds allocated for the election campaigning has increased by KZT 435, 400 compared with 2005 (KZT 147 = US$ 1).
The registration of the candidates will continue until March 2, according to the CEC. For now, Incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev is the only officially registered presidential candidate, as his campaign staff had already handed 717,000 signatures.
To be registered, each presidential candidate must collect a minimum of 91,000 signatures, representing, in equal measure, at least nice of the country’s 14 regions, as well as the cities of Almaty and Astana. Candidates also have to deposit about KZT 800 thousand to the CEC account. The election campaigns will begin on March 3 and end on April 1, two days prior to the election, the CEC says.
ASTANA, January 31, 2011 – President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan today finally rejected the idea of holding a referendum to extend his term of office to 2020 by a national referendum and said that, being faithful to democratic principles, he would submit a bill to the Parliament calling for an early presidential election, almost two years ahead of schedule.
Calling the one month saga with the referendum a “complex political situation” and “a historical lesson in democracy”, the President explained his thinking the following way: “On the one hand, I cannot reject the nationwide initiative of the overwhelming majority of voters. On the other, as the President and as a guarantor of the Constitution, I cannot create a precedent which would set wrong guidelines for next generations of politicians.”
“I hope the people would understand me correctly. I offer all of us to look at this situation not as a “rejection or acceptance”, but as a historical lesson in democracy which life itself has taught us,” President Nazarbayev said in an address televised live on TV channels across Kazakhstan. “As the first democratically elected President, proceeding exclusively from the highest interests of the country, I made the decision not to hold a referendum.”
“Instead of a choice dividing us, “either referendum, or election,” I offer a formula that unites us all and that takes into account the will of the people and the faithfulness to democratic principles. I am introducing the proposal to hold early presidential poll, despite the fact that this reduces my term of office by almost two years,” the President declared.
“A relevant bill will be submitted to the Parliament,” President Nazarbayev added.
Earlier on January 31, Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council (CC) ruled that replacing the presidential election, scheduled for 2012, with a referendum to extend the term of office of President Nazarbayev, would have contradicted the Constitution of Kazakhstan, according to a ruling announced by Chairman of the CC Igor Rogov.
“The Constitutional Council has made a decision to declare the law “On Amendments to the Constitution,” adopted by Parliament on January 14, 2011, unconstitutional,” Rogov announced at a meeting of the CC. Rogov added that “the Law ‘On Amendments to the Constitution’, adopted by the Parliament on January 14 and declared unconstitutional, cannot be signed and put into effect.” The Council’s decision enters into force upon its adoption and cannot be appealed.
“The President, according to the Constitution, has a right to make objections to the decision of the CC within a month, thus, the last word on the fate of the referendum remains with the head of state,” Rogov earlier said, although it is obvious now that the President chose not to protract this issue any longer. Earlier, Rogov also said that “the vagueness of the exposition of the given constitutional rule in practice may lead to an imbalance of state and public institutions provided under the constitution, thus, the President’s doubts about the constitutionality of the law adopted by Parliament were well founded.”
That meant that President Nazarbayev had the ultimate say in whether or not to go with the proposal of a referendum, and he now made his decision known.
Earlier, on December 27, Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission registered an initiative of Kazakhstan’s citizens proposing to hold a referendum on the extension of President Nazarbayev’s term of office until December 6, 2020, thus doing away with the 2012 election.
In two weeks, more than five million signatures in support of the referendum, representing 55 percent of registered voters, were gathered.
In addition, members of Parliament initiated amendments to the Constitution designed to create a possibility of extending presidential powers of President Nazarbayev until 2020 based on the referendum without holding election. Nazarbayev, however, rejected Parliament’s proposal by his decree. Deputies of the Parliament overcame the rejection of the President at a joint session on January 14. Nazarbayev did not sign the adopted amendments and forwarded them to the Constitutional Council on January 17.
Delivering his annual state-of-nation address at a joint session of Parliament on January 28, Nazarbayev said that he intends to work as long as his health and strength allow provided there is unanimous support of the people.
In his address on January 31, he said this support was “a source of strength” to go on serving the country, adding that a lot remains to be done. “We are confidently implementing the programme of accelerated industrial and innovative development and social modernization. I am confident, that together we will realize all our aspirations and plans, and make our Motherland successful and prosperous. Let us build our future together!”
Extraordinary presidential election in Kazakhstan is to be held on April 3, 2011, the decree by the acting head of state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, signed on February 4 said. The announcement, made possible by a constitutional law passed by the Parliament this week, necessitates the Central Election Commission to ensure the organization of election. The government of Kazakhstan will be undertaking necessary measures to provide organizational, logistical and financial support for free and fair elections.
The decree instructs the akimats (regional authorities) to provide accountability of lists of citizens of Kazakhstan eligible to vote. They are also expected to extend full cooperation to the Central Election Commission and its regional offices in solving organisational issues in holding the election.
On January 31, President Nazarbayev rejected the proposal to hold a referendum to extend his term in office till 2020 by a national referendum, citing the Constitutional Council’s recommendation on that and to the need to strengthen democratic principles in the country. Recent amendments to the constitutional law “On elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan” require extraordinary presidential elections to be held within two months from the date of their announcement, in a fashion similar to the United Kingdom’s election system.
The next presidential elections after this will take place in five years time on the first Sunday of December, as already established by the Constitutional Law. The powers of the President of the Republic, voted in by an extraordinary election, will be in effect until the entry into office of the next president. The procedures of upcoming elections will be the same as established by the existing Constitutional Law of September 28, 1995.
During the previous presidential election in December 2005, Nazarbayev won with a majority of 91%. The closest runner up, Zharmakhan Tuyakbay, received 6.61% percent of the popular vote.
An inaugural ceremony of the next elected president, whose date is to be determined by the Central Election Commission, will have to be held within a month of the publication of the certified results of the election.
On February 4, the Central Election Commission announced the candidates can be put forward between February 5 and 20. Between February 20 and March 2, the CEC will review the documents submitted by candidates and decide on which ones fulfil all formal requirements to be included on the ballot. Between March 3 and April 1, the candidates will hold their official campaigns, and, according to the CEC ruling, each candidate can establish a campaing fund worth not more than 431,973,000 tenge (KZT 146.71 = US$1)
Also, on February 4, two of Kazakhstan’s ten political parties, namely the Azat Nationwide Social Democratic Party and Rukhaniyat – The Greens announced their intention to field their challengers for the upcoming presidential election.