LJUBLJANA, 5 December 2005 - Responding to the preliminary statement of the OSCE observation mission on the Kazakh presidential election, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Dimitrij Rupel said the findings pointed to a continued need to open up political life in Kazakhstan, in order to allow meaningful competition among candidates and political parties.
The Slovenian Foreign Minister, who is hosting the OSCE Ministerial Council in Ljubljana, said that the international observers had also acknowledged positive developments where they occurred.
"Sustained efforts are necessary, however, to bring about a situation where OSCE commitments on democratic elections and accountable governance are truly met" he added.
Yesterday's election, which President Nursultan Nazarbayev won an overwhelming majority of the votes counted, was observed by an International Election Observation Mission led by Bruce George, President Emeritus of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, whom the Chairman-in-Office had appointed as Co-ordinator of Short Term Observers.
Noting the result, the Chairman-in-Office said: "While the accomplishments of President Nazarbayev are well recognized inside and outside the country, the international community calls on him to use his new mandate to make further steps towards developing open, democratic political structures in Kazakhstan, which could become a beacon for democracy in the region."
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has led the long-term observation mission in the country since October, under the leadership of Ambassador Audrey Glover and deployed some 460 observers from 43 OSCE participating States around the country on polling day.
Through its Centre in Almaty and through the ODIHR, the OSCE has been working extensively with Kazakh authorities for several years in order to improve democratic processes.
The Chairman-in-Office called on the OSCE's structures to further enhance this assistance, and urged the authorities in Kazakhstan to respond to such offers of assistance in a positive way. In this context, he said, it should be remembered that political declarations of intent should be followed up by tangible and sustainable steps to implement promises on the ground.
Minister Rupel also took the opportunity to thank the ODIHR for its continued and constructive involvement in Kazakhstan and its efforts to observe electoral processes according to its recognized methodology, and thanked all the individual observers for their work and the participating States for seconding them for this collective effort.