“Interaction with international organizations that observe elections: a conscious, firm choice of Kazakhstan and a guarantee to the consistent improvement of the election legislation and process"
Dear participants of the conference.
Ladies and gentlemen,
First, let me thank the CEC for inviting me to speak at such an authoritative forum, and to congratulate the Chairman of CEC Berik Imashev, members of the CEC and the staff of this important body on the 25th anniversary.
Since independence, Kazakhstan has embarked on the path of building a democratic, secular and legally robust state, in which human rights and freedom are the foundations of state policy.
These priorities are set out in the government program “Strategy - 2050", the main purpose of which is to join the top 30 most developed countries of the world by 2050.
As you know, the electoral rights of a citizen is a fundamental human right, and its observance is an inalienable obligation of a democratic state.
As an active member of many leading international organizations, our country is committed to holding free and transparent elections in strict accordance with the legislation of the country and international standards.
Elections of the President and the formation of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as local representative bodies are held in our country under the conditions of openness and publicity, in accordance with national legislation and generally accepted principles of democratic elections laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE (1990).
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
It is well known that a perfect electoral system has not yet been created anywhere in the world. Even states with age-old democratic traditions highlight new gaps during the organization and conduction of election campaigns.
It is not coincidental, therefore, that the Constitutional Law “On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan" is constantly being improved and adjusted in accordance with the realities of the modern world. Together with the electoral legislation, the electoral process is also improving, the legal culture of voters and other participants in the electoral process is increasing.
Moreover, despite the fact that the electoral legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan fully complies with international electoral standards, the state does not stop in electoral development and analyzes it at the end of each election campaign.
Thus, since the adoption of the Law “On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan" in 1995, approximately 20 changes and additions, and over a thousand amendments were made. The latest changes and additions adopted in June of this year are aimed at further improving the national electoral system, taking into account the advanced international legal practice of the electoral process. The law was thoroughly and comprehensively considered with the participation of all stakeholders including: representatives of political parties, NGOs and international organizations, as well as leading foreign and Kazakh researches in the field of electoral law.
I will not dwell on each of the amendments, but, undoubtedly, they will contribute to the organization of the most transparent and democratic election process by ensuring fundamental electoral principles such as free freedom of expression of citizens, their constitutional rights to elect and be elected.
The task of state bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to maintain public trust by organizing elections in accordance with high democratic standards.
As part of the Copenhagen Document and the Convention on Standards of Democratic Elections, Electoral Rights and Freedoms in Member States of the CIS, Kazakhstan has committed itself to host observers from international organizations and foreign states and, in turn, send its observers for election monitoring in the OSCE and CIS member states.
Confirming its openness and focus on holding transparent and fair elections, Kazakhstan traditionally invites the maximum number of international organizations with an election observation mandate. These are the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, etc.
Observers from the Parliamentary Assemblies of the organizations I have mentioned play an important role, as well as the electoral bodies of foreign countries, who have practical experience of participating in electoral processes, whose recommendations play a significant role in the overall assessment of election results.
The missions of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights have special place in the election observation process.
Kazakhstan and the OSCE have a rich history of cooperation, which includes the chairmanship of our country of the Organization in 2010, the organization of OSCE Summit in Astana, which is the only one in the 21st century, and the adoption of the Astana Declaration.
The relationship between Kazakhstan and the OSCE / ODIHR has gained partnership due to our common efforts. We support the Office's important work in the human dimension, including election observation activities, regularly sending our representatives to election observation missions and hosting observers. We intend to continue this practice.
I would like to note that since 1995, Kazakhstan has hosted about 10,000 international observers, and since 2006 our country has sent over 300 observers to OSCE member states as part of the OSCE / ODIHR missions.
The recommendations and conclusions of election observation missions play an important role in further improving the electoral process, contribute to the development of an objective assessment of the effectiveness of the electoral system, the development of sound recommendations for improving legislation.
At the same time, along with positive assessments of the election results, observational missions express criticism with regard to certain aspects of the electoral process.
Of course, there are areas where further improvement is needed. We see the need to continue work in this direction.
Kazakhstan is always ready to listen to balanced, constructive criticism. Any constructive advice is welcome and will be taken into account if it is not contrary to the Constitution and national legislation.
Dear participants, Speaking about the improvement of the public administration system and legislative reforms, the significant contribution of civil society to these processes cannot be ignored.
I would like to emphasize that today for the authorities, non-governmental organizations are strategic partners, including in the development of special reports and programs that contribute to the improvement of national legislation and law enforcement practice in the field of human rights protection, including ensuring the upholding of electoral law.
Since 2013, the Dialogue Platform on Human Dimension has been effectively working as a consultative and advisory body under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where the main participants are leaders of human rights NGOs and heads of state bodies. Heads and representatives of a number of international organizations accredited in Kazakhstan also play an active part in the work of this dialogue platform.
The recommendations developed by the dialogue platform, including on electoral topics are sent to the Government and the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan for use in the process of improving national legislation and law enforcement practice.
As you see, we already have achieved a great deal, and we intend to continue our work in order to advance the rule of law and respect for human rights and freedoms, including increasing the involvement of citizens in electoral processes.
In this context, Kazakhstan is committed to the further development of constructive cooperation with all international organizations and human rights institutions.
Thank you for your attention.
(Astana, November 1, 2018)
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