Cohen: Kazakh elections organized on high European level
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.16 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Despite sporadic imperfections, the current ballot [in Kazakhstan] has improved the prospects for a multi-party parliament in this and subsequent legislative elections, Trend Expert Council member and Heritage Foundation expert on Russia, Eurasia and international energy policies Ariel Cohen believes.
"Organizational errors were rare, fundamentally technical, and did not detract from the overall efficient administration of the electoral process. But in most cases, the elections were organized professionally on a high European level," Cohen, who acted as an international observer in the January 15 elections in Kazakhstan, told Trend.
He said as in the previous elections, Kazakhstan welcomed domestic and international observer groups to monitor the elections. Their members have played an important role in promoting a more transparent and neutral process.
"After previous elections, the Kazakhstani authorities worked with the OSCE, foreign governments, and others to improve their election procedures," he said. "Now the Kazakhstani government needs to adopt additional steps to realize their stated desire of meeting international standards."
Cohen stressed a substantive point that parties, according to applicable law, don't have an obligation to field the list they present to voters. They can change it after the elections per CEC.
"There is also no request for democratic procedures to form the party leadership and list as far as know. This raises questions re: "truth in advertising" as voters need to know who they are voting for to represent them in the Parliament," Cohen said.
"Suggest we address that by recommending the party to publish a list and stick to it for a year after the elections, and the law to require democratic elections inside the party. Parties can pass their own procedures how to address these requirements," he underscored.
According to preliminary data received from election commissions of regions and cities of Astana and Almaty, the ruling party Nur Otan scored 80.74 percent of the votes, Ak Zhol - 7.46 percent, while the Communist Party - 7.2 percent in the elections of members of the Kazakh Majilis.
The Central Election Commission should sum up the final results of elections of members of the Majilis elected on party lists, based on the protocols of territorial election commissions no later than Jan. 22.
Kazakh parliamentary elections were held on Jan.15.