ASTANA – Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights announced on March 26 the start of their mission to observe Kazakhstan’s April 26 early presidential election.
During a March 26 press conference at the Radisson Hotel announcing the launch of the mission, Cornelia Jonker, head of the OSCE/ODIHR mission, said thirty long-term observers were being deployed. “These experts will evaluate the elections according to principles that will ensure a democratic election process consistent with the principles of all OSCE member states and national legislation,” she said.
Jonker also stated that in addition to these long-term observers, ODIHR will request that OSCE participating states provide 400 short-term observers. The observers sent in response to this request will arrive several days before Election Day and will work in teams of two people.
Observers will closely monitor candidate and voter registration, campaign activities, the work of the election administration and relevant governmental bodies, election-related legislation and its implementation, the media environment and the resolution of election-related disputes.
In the course of its observation, the mission will meet with representatives from state authorities, political parties and candidates, representatives from civil society, the media and the international community. On Election Day, observers will monitor the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots and the tabulation of results.
The mission will publish one interim report in the course of its work. The day after the election, a statement of preliminary findings and conclusions will be issued at a press conference. ODIHR will issue a final report on the observation of the entire electoral process approximately eight weeks after the end of the observation mission.
Jonker noted that the mission of experts is hoping for a positive and productive relationship.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov welcomed the mission at a March 26 meeting with Jonker, and, as quoted by the ministry’s press service, said that “Kazakhstan is set for a constructive cooperation with international observers for the upcoming presidential election and looks forward to the objective evaluation of the results of voting on their part.”