Preliminary report on the results of long-term observation of the preparations for the elections of deputies to the Jogorku Kenesh

Preliminary report on the results of long-term observation of the preparations for the elections of deputies to the Jogorku Kenesh

BISHKEK, November 22, 2021. The report relates to the period from the moment of calling of the elections of deputies to the JK KR, from August 29 to November 18, 2021, and covers the procedures of nomination and registration of candidates, lists of candidates, formation and activities of election commissions of all levels (CEC, DEC, PEC), procedures of forming and updating voter lists, period of informing and election campaigning, as well as identifying violations of election legislation and submission of applications (statements and complaints) to the appropriate authorities.

A total of 21 political parties, most of which are entirely new, were registered in the single district. Of the parties represented in the Parliament of the sixth convocation, only "Ata-Meken" is running in the upcoming elections. Deputies from other parliamentary factions were included in the candidate lists of other parties or were nominated as candidates in single-mandate districts.

As of November 18, 2021, 297 candidates had been registered for single-mandate districts.

There were no female candidates in Osh and Talas regions. There are 20 female candidates in Jalal-Abad, Batken, Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Chui regions and Bishkek.

The level of competition in single-mandate districts varies from district to district. For example, in Kadamdjay district there are 18 candidates, and in Uzgen and Nookat - two and three candidates respectively. On average, eight candidates are running for one mandate across the country.

According to the observation data, the sociopolitical situation in the country in the run-up to the elections is relatively calm. The pre-election period is happening in the context of a pandemic, like the previous election campaigns. At the same time, the recovery of the economy is going on at a slow pace; accordingly, the difficult socioeconomic situation of the majority of the country's citizens is noted. Observers point out the discontent of citizens due to increased unemployment, rising food prices, power outages in the suburbs of Bishkek and in the regions, deterioration of the environmental situation in the capital. In this connection, local rallies are observed.

Regarding the implementation of active suffrage, the Foundation notes that there are some problems related to the cancellation of the ability to change the electoral address on Form No.2 within the country. Jogorku Kenesh should have provided other opportunities for exercising the active suffrage of KR citizens. In connection with the cancellation of Form No.2, students, internal migrants and other categories of citizens whose actual place of residence does not coincide with their residence registration will not be able to vote.

Compared with previous election campaigns, the pre-election campaign is characterized by a lower activity of candidates and political parties, less visual campaign materials, but more active campaigning in social networks and messengers.

It can be noted that the work on informing the citizens about the elections on the part of the CEC, mass media and non-governmental organizations has been intensified. However, the participants of the election process objectively had little time to get acquainted with the new rules of elections. The short time between the adoption of the law and the appointment of elections does not allow the voters to fully understand the voting process, the procedure of filling in the ballot papers, especially in a single district, which creates the risk of an increase in the number of invalid (spoiled) ballot papers.

Another innovation in the upcoming elections is the introduction of an automated system of transparency of candidates' and political parties' election funds "Financial Transparency" (AIS FP). Starting from November 15, 2021, the system displays information about the receipt and expenditure of candidates' and political parties' election funds.

Analysis of election funds showed that the total amount of four parties with the largest election funds ("Ata-Zhurt Kyrgyzstan", "Ishenim", "Alliance" and "Yntymak") is 99.3 million KGS, which exceeds the total amount of election funds of the remaining 17 parties (67.6 million KGS). The largest number of billboards, headquarters and canvassers is observed among five political parties: "Ata-Zhurt Kyrgyzstan", "Ishenim", "Alliance", "Yntymak" and "El Umutu".

The Foundation's analysis of the reports received from observers shows that there were mainly the violations of rules of campaigning and damage of campaign materials. The abuse of administrative resources and vote-buying are carried out by more and more sophisticated methods, making it more difficult to identify them and to verify them with evidence. During the election campaign there were reports that third parties were engaged to bribe voters, and the bribing was often disguised by holding various events (name day, prayers for the dead, anniversaries, etc.).

In total, from October 25 till November 18, 2021, 127 reports of violations of the electoral legislation were submitted to the Foundation by long-term observers, of which 111 were reports of violations of the rules of election campaigning, 8 reports of vote-buying and 8 reports of abuse of administrative resources, pressure, violence and threats. Osh oblast, Bishkek city and Chui oblast had the highest number of reports of violations.

The Foundation will continue to monitor the elections of deputies to the JK KR up to the official publication of election results. After the Election Day, the Foundation will make a preliminary assessment based on the results of long-term and short-term observation. At the end of long-term observation, the Foundation will prepare a final report, which will cover the entire election process, including the post-election period.

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