CIS mission confident of transparent elections in Kazakhstan

The CIS observer mission head has expressed confidence that the elections to the upper house of Kazakhstan's parliament on August 19 will be transparent and will comply with all democratic principles, Itar-Tass reported.

The mission's head and the CIS Executive Committee chairman, Sergei Lebedev, met with the head of the Kazakhstan's central election commission, Kuandyk Turgankulov, on Thursday.

Lebedev underlined that the CIS observer mission has been repeatedly monitoring the elections in the Central Asian republic and its goal "is to ensure transparency of the election process and citizens' expression of will."

The mission that has been staying in Kazakhstan since August 11 includes 68 representatives from eight CIS member-states, except for Moldova and Azerbaijan.

"The mission includes diplomats, public figures, parliamentarians and members of election commissions - experienced and responsible people. The mission is authoritative and the monitoring will be serious," he said.

At the same time Lebedev expressed confidence that the parliamentary elections "will be normal and will ensure citizens' right to vote" judging by the preparation activities that are underway in Kazakhstan and "by high responsibility demonstrated by the all branches of the republic's power in the elections' organization."

"We have an opportunity in detail and freely to observe how the preparation for the elections proceeds," Lebedev said.

"Several people (39 candidates for 16 seats) are competing for mandates in Kazakhstan's senate, which proves that the Kazakh citizen has the right of choice," he said.

Under the Central Asian republic's laws, the president appoints 15 senators, while 32 senators - two parliamentarians representing each of Kazakhstan's 14 regions - are elected in indirect elections by maslihats (local representative bodies).

Senators serve a term of six years. At the same time half of elected senators are re-elected every three years.

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