ASTANA, 9 September 2011 – Electoral reform and OSCE commitments for democratic elections were the topics of a roundtable meeting organized today in Astana by the OSCE Centre in Astana, together with Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry and the Central Election Commission.
The meeting, which brought together over 60 participants, including experts from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and representatives from government, political parties, and local non-governmental and international organizations, aimed to identify ways to improve Kazakhstan’s electoral framework. Participants discussed the main findings and recommendations of the OSCE/ODHIR Election Observation Mission final report on the country’s presidential election this April. They also discussed the role of political parties in the electoral system and the election campaign environment ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
“The will of the people, freely and fairly expressed through periodic and genuine elections, remains the basis of good governance,” said Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, the Head of the Centre, at the opening of the meeting.
“From candidate nomination to the actual conduct of the elections, organizing and implementing elections is a complex process that encompasses a wide range of political rights, freedoms and responsibilities. The OSCE stands ready to provide its expertise to the country’s authorities in their efforts to further improve the electoral process so that it complies with OSCE commitments.”
Serzhan Abdykarimov, the Director of the Department of European Co-operation at Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The presidential election was an important milestone in Kazakhstan’s history. Twenty years of the country’s independent development attests to our firm commitment to the implementation and robust consolidation of generally recognized international democratic standards, including those related to elections.”
“The purpose of our recommendations is to support Kazakhstan in reforming the country’s electoral framework. We hope to see concrete progress and improvements in establishing conditions for elections that are in line with Kazakhstan’s commitments as a participating State of the OSCE and other international standards,” added Ambassador Daan Everts, who headed the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission.
The OSCE plans to continue dialogue on election-related issues through similar events and consultations with the Kazakhstani authorities, and ODIHR stands ready to assist the authorities in reforming Kazakhstan’s electoral framework.