Openness, publicity and transparency – basic principles for organization, preparation and conduct of elections, CEC
February 15. KAZINFORM. ASTANA
Early in February Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev rejected the idea of a nationwide referendum to prolong his term in office until 2020 proposed by the public and upheld by the Parliament.
Instead, in accordance with Kazakhstan’s commitment to democratic principles, he chose to call early presidential elections that are to take place on April 3, 2011.
Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission intends to spare no effort to ensure that the elections are held in a free and fair manner, correspond to high international standards, and remain fully open for international and national observers to monitor the electoral process. As Mr. Kuandyk Turgankulov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, emphasized: “during the election campaign, election commissions must pay special attention to the observance of basic principles for organization, preparation and conduct of elections – openness, publicity and transparency. This will be facilitated by active involvement of domestic and foreign observers in monitoring of preparation for and conduct of elections”.
Foreign nationals are welcome to participate in monitoring forthcoming presidential elections in Kazakhstan in several ways – as members of short- or long-term observer missions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe or as independent observers representing a US institution (government agency, NGO, think tank etc.).
To join the OSCE missions, one may apply at the Organization’s website at http://www.osce.org/odihr/75437. There you will also find the working schedule of the OSCE short- or long-term observer missions.
Below please find a brief outlook on some key dates and facts related to the forthcoming elections.
On February 3, 2011 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan issued a decree on early presidential elections that will be held on April 3, 2011. Since then the Central Election Commission and all interested parties, including national and international NGOs, a whole range of political parties, as well as international organizations, including the OSCE, have started preparing for the forthcoming elections.
On February 4, 2011 Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission prepared and posted on its website the schedule of pre-, and post-election activity. Candidates’ registration started on February 5 and will run through February 20, 2011.
As Kazakhstan’s Constitution reads, “the President should be elected by universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot for a five-year term by the citizens of the Republic of the full legal age”. The following requirements are applicable to all candidates who are going to run for the office: “A citizen of Kazakhstan by birth, who is not younger than forty years old, fluent in state language and who has lived in Kazakhstan for the last fifteen years is eligible to be elected as a President”. The right to nominate the candidates shall belong to the public associations registered in the established order as well as to the citizens – by self-nomination. The support by voters of the presidential candidate is confirmed by signature collection. Each candidate must collect at least 91 thousand authentic signatures of voters, equally representing at least 9 of total 14 oblasts of the country as well as the cities of Astana and Almaty.
A presidential candidate grants 800 thousand tenge (about USD 5.3 thousand) as an election contribution to the account of the Central Election Commission, before his/her registration and after it is established that he/she is an eligible candidate in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution and election law, including the availability of the collected signatures in his/her support.
Before registration, a candidate and his/her spouse shall submit declarations on income and property to the tax bodies at the place of residence as of February 1, 2011.
Election campaigning of candidates shall start on March 3 and end on April 1 in the midnight.
Foreigners, stateless persons, foreign legal entities and international organizations are prohibited to be involved in the activities hindering or facilitating the achievement of certain results at elections, the News Bulletin of the Kazakh Embassy to the USA reads.
Presidential elections are funded from the national budget.
The costs for candidate’s public pre-election activities, printing campaign materials, transportation to the amount established by the Central Election Commission shall be covered from the funds of the national budget.
Territorial election commissions distribute and bear responsibility for the use of means, allocated from the national budget.
For the purposes of conducting election campaigning, the candidates to President are eligible to establish election funds. The maximum possible size of a candidate’s election fund is 431 million 973 thousand tenge (about USD 2.8 million).
According to the Kazakh laws, these funds are subject to financial monitoring.
Complete and accurate voter registers must be sent by local executive bodies to the corresponding election commissions not later than on 13 March and not later than on 18 March they must be presented to citizens for information.
The basis for inclusion of a citizen in the voter registers is the registration of his/her residence in the territory of electoral district.
If a citizen changes his/her residence he/she can request precinct election commission to issue an absentee voter certificate. This can be done from 18 March till 6 pm on 2 April 2011.
Voting will be held on 3 April from 7 am till 8 pm by local time.
The Central Election Commission will establish the results of presidential election and adopt the corresponding resolution before 9 April 2011.