ASTANA – The election observation mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published an interim report on March 3, anticipating a broader public engagement in the elections to Mazhilis, the lower house of Parliament, and maslikhats, the local representative bodies, on March 19.
The ODIHR report analyzes the conditions for organizing election processes and their compliance with international standards.
“Most ODIHR EOM interlocutors welcomed the reforms, which also addressed several prior ODIHR recommendations, including reducing the electoral threshold, introducing a fully directly elected Mazhilis, allowing self-nominated candidates to stand and easing requirements for party registration,” reads the report.
The report positively evaluates the work of the Central Election Commission (CEC) in organizing the election and notes a lively election campaign, especially on the internet and in single-mandate districts with a large number of candidates.
“So far, contestants rely on organizing indoor meetings, mostly at places of work, using posters and billboards, and being active on social networks. No single topic has dominated the campaign yet, with parties and candidates focusing on a wide range of social, economic, and political issues,” the report reads.
With last year’s constitutional amendments, Kazakhstan’s Mazhilis will consist of 98 deputies, with 29 to be elected from single-mandate districts and 69 from party lists.
There are 281 candidates from party lists, who will compete for 69 seats, and 435 candidates from single-mandate districts, seeking 29 seats in the country’s lower house.
According to the election law, women, youth, and persons with disabilities should comprise at least 30 percent in the party list.
According to the CEC, all seven parties fulfilled this requirement.
In the single-mandate districts, out of 435 candidates, 359 were self-nominated.
An electoral campaign is underway nationwide. More than 12 million voters are registered for the upcoming election.