OSCE opens poll observation mission in Kazakhstan, stations 30 observers

The OSCE Office for Human Rights (ODIHR) has opened an election observation mission for the November 20 presidential election in Kazakhstan, following an official invitation from the national authorities and in accordance with its mandate.

In a press statement, the Warsaw based Office for Free Elections said the mission is headed by Urszula Gacek and consists of a core team of 11 international experts based in Astana and 30 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country from October 26.

“ODIHR also plans to request 300 short-term observers, to arrive several days before election day. The mission will assess the conduct of the election for its compliance with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation,” the office said.

The office said observers will closely monitor all aspects of the election such as the conduct of the campaign including on social networks, the work of the election administration at all levels, election-related legislation and its implementation, respect for fundamental freedoms, media coverage and election dispute resolution. They will also assess the implementation of previous ODIHR election recommendations.

Meetings with representatives of state authorities and political parties, civil society, the media and the international community form an integral part of the observation.

On election day, the ODIHR mission will observe the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots and the tabulation of results.

An interim report will be published approximately two weeks prior to the election to update the public and the media on the observation mission’s activities.

The day after the election, a statement of preliminary findings and conclusions will be presented at a press conference. A final report with an assessment of the entire election process and recommendations will be published some months after the elections.

The ODIHR election observation mission and the OSCE Programme Office in Astana operate independently under their separate mandates.

Nurlan Abdirov, the Central Election Commission (CEC) chair, this week, expressed his gratitude to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for the decision to send a delegation of 30 long-term and 300 short term international observers for the upcoming presidential elections.

Abdirov spoke about the features and duration of the main stages of the election campaign and presented the results of the nomination of the presidential candidates, The Astana Times reported.

“The CEC will ensure the election campaign is conducted strictly with the law and will create all conditions for healthy and fair competition. We attach great importance to close cooperation and constructive dialogue with the mission,” said Abdirov.

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