European Parliament: Kazakhstan rather advances in holding elections after 1999 (UPDATE)
The observers' quotations were added after the fourteenth paragraph (the first version was posted at 3:07 p.m.)
Kazakhstan, Astana, April 3 / Trend, A. Maratov/
The procedure of conducting the elections in Kazakhstan has improved considerably over the last 12 years. Today's elections correspond to the European standards, the European Parliament's observation mission stressed as of the first half of the voting day.
"I was an observer at the elections in Kazakhstan in 1999," MEP, representative of the observation mission Milosav Ransdorf (the Czech Republic) said. I want to say that Astana has changed significantly over this time.
The procedure of the elections has improved compared to 1999. Today the elections are held according to the European standards."The atmosphere of trust is much higher in the country compared to his previous visit.Polling stations are open from 7:00 a.m. to 20:00 p.m. on the Kazakhstan time. The authorities promise the most transparent elections in history.
A total of 1,059 accredited observers will be monitoring the elections in the country. The most numerous mission will be from the CIS (425) and the OSCE/ODIHR (357 people). Over 250 foreign journalists monitor the elections.
Besides the incumbent president, Communist Zhambyl Ahmetbekov, leader of the Patriots Party, Senator Gani Kasimov and Tabiyat Ecological Union leader Mels Eleusizov participate in the snap presidential elections.
MEP from Latvia, Alfred Rubiks, stressed the activity of Kazakh people.
"I was pleased that people come to the polls with their families," he said. There are many happy people. The people perceive the elections as a holiday."
He said that the European Parliament's mission attended many constituencies and spoke to the chairmen of the electoral commissions and the voters.
The observers from the European Parliament have not noticed any violations during the voting, which would require the intervention of law enforcement bodies. They saw a queue of voters at one of the polling stations.
However, the observers attribute this to the enthusiasm and the desire of citizens to vote.
"If anyone expected me to criticize the elections, then I have to disappoint them," Latvian MP said at a press-briefing.The Kazakh government has allocated more than $ 32 million to hold the early presidential elections.
The CEC will announce the preliminary results of the elections in the first half of April 4.
Ransdorf said that it is important not just to drop the voting paper in a box, the further changes are important.
"Democracy is a process that never ends," he said. Democracy must be connected with the quality of life in the future." The main objective is to create normal conditions for life. "This is the only correct way and Kazakhstan follows this way," he said.
MP Rubiks gave the conditions for improving living standards in Kazakhstan as the example for other countries of the region.
Commenting on the boycott by some Kazakh opposition parties, the observers from the European Parliament called on the opposition to further self-development.
"A boycott, called for by the opposition, is a way to nowhere," he said. If any political parties have no chance to nominate their candidates, they have to learn. I want to emphasize that no door was closed for us."