Parliamentary Election Campaign Coverage

Jan 06. MFA

Parliamentary Election Campaign CoverageA total of 77.5% of respondents in Kazakhstan will vote in the parliamentary election on January 15, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Social and Political Studies (ISPS). This is a rise from 67.2% since the start of the campaign.

Since the first poll, the ratings of some parties have grown. 80.9% are ready to vote for Nur Otan (in the first poll it was 80.5 per cent). Ak Zhol party gained 7.5% (initially, this figure was 7%), the ASDP has 4.1% of answers (increased by 1.7%), CPPK – 3.9% (previously – 2%). The ratings of Adilet (1.2%), the Patriots Party (0.7%), and Aul Party (0.4%) remained unchanged.

In addition, the ISPS predicts the rating of the Rukhaniyat party (0.1 percent) deregistered on Dec.28 will be redistributed among other parties and join those who have not decided who to vote for (the latter constituted 1.2%).

The survey involved 2,000 people (46.4% – men, 53.6% – women) in the age group ranging from 18 years to 61 years and older.

The Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan has accredited 369 more observers from four international organizations and thirteen foreign countries, Kuandyk Turgankulov, head of the Commission, said on Jan.6.

“To date, we have accredited 695 international observers upon the recommendation of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry,” Turgankulov said at the meeting.

292 of these observers represent the OSCE/ODIHR, 257 – the CIS Observer Mission, 11 observers are from the SCO Observer Mission, nine are from the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, four from the OIC, 10 from the TURKPA, and 112 observers are from 29 foreign countries.

The accreditation of observers from foreign states and international organizations will continue until January 9, 2012.

The CEC excluded 18 candidates to the Majilis from the previously registered party lists because of false information submitted in their declarations of income.

“Under paragraph 2 of article 89 of the Election Law a candidate to the Majilis and his wife (husband) must submit a declaration of income and property to the tax authorities at the place of residence before the registration. The reliability of information contained in them is verified by tax authorities within fifteen days from the date of registration of the party list,” Turgankulov said at a meeting on Friday.

CEC chairman explained that in accordance with tax secrets the amount of incomes can not be made public. “But I can tell you that those are very impressive sums of money, several tens of millions of tenge and tens of thousands of dollars. There are also cases where real estate, apartments, land, cars and shares in companies and enterprises were not reflected in the declarations,” Turgankulov noted at a briefing after the CEC meeting.

A famous singer Nurlan Abdullin and a pianist Zhaniya Aubakirova of the Nur Otan party were among those who gave false information about their income and assets.

The CEC decided to issue an additional number of ballots for elections to the Majilis and maslikhats. “The additional number of ballots to be manufactured and delivered to the polls, including a reserve of 1 percent of the total number of voters, for the early elections of deputies of Majilis will amount to 24,358 units, and for the regular elections of deputies of maslikhats to 48,716 pieces,” Turgankulov said at a meeting on Jan. 6.

In addition, the CEC approved the text of the ballot for the early elections of Majilis deputies elected by the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan. These bulletins will be produced centrally and will constitute 394 pieces (including a reserve of one percent).

Candidates from ASDP refused to participate in early elections to the maslikhats on Jan.6. “We urge the political leadership of the All-National Social Democratic Party and the Party members to refuse to participate in early elections to the Majilis and maslikhats,” the 28 candidates of the ASDP to maslikhats of all levels said in a statement.

On Jan.6, the Saryarka District Civil Court of Astana started action proceedings initiated by the Rukhaniyat Party against the Central Election Commission, which had deregistered the party. Before the trial, Rukhaniyat wants the court to put on hold the CEC decision to cancel the registration of the Rukhaniyat party list and delete it from the ballots. In its lawsuit the Rukhaniyat party requests the court to declare illegal and cancel the decision of the CEC.

On Jan.5, Prosecutor General Askhat Daulbayev met with the head of the CIS Observation Mission Evgeniy Sloboda. Daulbayev presented a report on the status of the legitimacy of the electoral process, and informed Sloboda about the work conducted by the prosecution authorities to ensure legality during the electoral period, including the review of appeals on violations of election law and the measures taken to address them.

Daulbayev also spoke about the main activities of the prosecution authorities in Kazakhstan to ensure law and order and answered questions about the measures taken to stabilize the situation in Zhanaozen.

On Jan.5, activists of Kazakh youth organizations organized a flash mob on the streets of major cities to support the upcoming elections. Young people urged everyone to come to the election on January 15.

The first colourful flyers were handed to the residents of Karaganda. Early in the morning, the city’s students divided into three mobile teams and went to the busiest routes of public transport. Students created festive bustles at bus stops, in buses and trolleybuses, and gave out campaign materials to the passengers. Then the teams reunited on one of the retailing spots in the centre of Karaganda. They summed up the results of the flash mob campaign and agreed to meet at the voting stations on Election Day on January 15.

In Pavlodar, students and young workers took to the streets in special scarves depicting a big blue tick – a symbol of the election. Young people were handing out special campaign leaflets on main streets and in public transport, particularly appealing to those who recently turned 18 and are about to make their first real choice in an election.

Similar flash mobs were held in Astana and Aktobe.

On January 4, Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov met Miklos Haraszti, Head of Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR EOM). Kazykhanov expressed his gratitude for the rapid deployment of the observation mission, which he said “confirmed the professionalism of the ODIHR and its employees”. According to him, “over a long period of cooperation on amending the electoral legislation, Kazakhstan has managed to create an electoral system that meets the basic principles of electoral law set forth in the Copenhagen Document and the Constitution of Kazakhstan”. Over 60% of the recommendations previously proposed by the ODIHR have been incorporated into the electoral legislation of Kazakhstan. The minister stressed the importance of balanced and objective assessment of the election by the ODIHR and other observation missions which, in his view, would help promote further democratic development in Kazakhstan

The exit poll on the elections to the Majilis of the Kazakh Parliament will be conducted with the use of alternative ballot boxes that will allow voters to give honest answers.

The survey will be conducted by a public fund, the Strategy Center for Social and Political Studies throughout the country. Voters will be interviewed at 200 voting stations. It is planned to involve 450 interviewers, with 2-3 persons per station. That is, about 25-30 thousand voters will take part in the poll. Voting stations will be selected randomly.

To comply with the Law “On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan”, the interviewers of the public fund will ask voters at the exit of voting stations.

The head of the public fund says the exit poll is meant to ensure the transparency of the electoral process and its accountability to the society.

The project of the survey is funded by the Information and Analytical Centre for the Study of Socio-Political Processes in the post-Soviet Space of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Political preferences of the members of some parties have changed during the campaign. Several members of the ASDP announced their resignation from the party.

Their views were outlined in the message to the media that was spread at a press conference in Almaty. In particular, they said they were disappointed by the policy of the party leadership. They marked their dissatisfaction by the “leaderism” and the indifference of some leaders of the ASDP towards the needs of ordinary party members. Four people, namely Nurlan Ayshimbayev, Marat Rgaliyev, Nurlan Chudabayev and Yermek Murzakhmetov, have left ASDP and applied to join the Ak Zhol Democratic Party.