Positive impressions from observing the parliamentary elections

The general impressions from observing the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan are positive, NHC election observer Parvina Abduvakhobova in Bishkek concludes. Even though security and stability in the country remains a major concern, election day was peaceful and the election campaign period was active.

Parvina Abduvakhobova, our new regional program manager based in Almaty has observed the Parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, contributed with this report. She observed in cooperation with a local NGO partner “Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society” on Election Day 10 October, 2010. The polling in eight polling stations in the Bishkek city were observed.

According to our local partners, the election campaign in Kyrgyzstan was free and open and all political parties had carried out their agitation campaigns without any obstructions. They had also enjoyed equal access to government mass media as prescribed by the law. Also, it was noted that the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression were observed during the pre-election campaignThe parliamentary elections were carried out following the adoption of a new Constitution, adopted through a June 2010 referendum and a decree of the temporary Government of Kyrgyzstan set the date of elections to 10 October, 2010.

About 57 political parties declared their willingness to take part in the elections. A total of 29 political parties have applied their lists to Central Election Commission and were registered, demonstrating that the process of registration of political parties was quite liberal.

Observation on Election Day
Security and stability in country remains to be one of the main concerns. However, the Election Day was peaceful and dominated by a politically active electorate.

In general, the work of the polling stations was assessed positive and active, though there is a lack of administrative resources. The information posters and voting instructions along with legislative regulations on rights and obligations of voters were put in each observed polling station.

Many of the violations concerned the voter lists. Some people complained about not being invited by the local authorities to the elections. Other voters found that their names had not been in the registration lists, or that the names of dead people or people who have left Kyrgyzstan are still on the voters list.

Some voters were confused about where to find their districts among others in order to vote, as the information posters were not displayed properly. As a security measure in order to avoid double voting, the voters had a finger marked with ink as they were registered as having voted. Before entering the polling station the voters’ fingers were scanned to identify voters already having voted. The NHC observer witnessed one case, in polling station #1349, where a woman tried to repeat voting, but was stopped as inking was found on her finger at inspection.

In each polling station there were around 25-30 observers, mostly representatives of different political parties. ODIHR and NDI observers were also present. In some of the polling stations observers’ place were too far away from the ballot box and voting cabins to conduct proper observation, but observers were not actively prevented from closer observation.

Some inaccuracy in the voters’ registers were observed. The right to vote was based on the propiska (registration of domicile) of each voter. This meant that a Kyrgyz national, without propiska may be deprived of the right to vote. As observed, in one of the polling stations the staff did not even allow voters to enter the voting room without showing their passports and propiskas. There was an “additional list” which assumed to include those who were not on the official lists of voters (provided by the local authorities) but have propiskas.

The election ballot was very long due to the big number of parties, which created some difficulties when inserting putting them into ballot box. The description of political parties in the election ballot was written by small letter, which also created difficulties for some voters to read the ballot.

In most of the polling stations due to big number of voters, people were staying in line both for registration and for entering the polling stations. There was also lack of voting cabins, which resulted that two voters (mostly relatives) started to vote from one voting cabin simultaneously, which violated the secrecy of the vote. There were no convenient conditions for elderly or disabled people. In some polling stations, it was noticed a rough attitude of polling station personnel towards voters.

No cases of election fraud were observed.