BISHKEK, March 3, 2021 - Based on the observation of 2021 early presidential election of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Common Cause Public Foundation has prepared a number of recommendations to the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the CEC of the Kyrgyz Republic aimed at further improving the electoral legislation and ensuring the implementation of active and passive suffrage of citizens, the transparency of election funds' financing, an effective counteraction to violations of the electoral law and and the increased capacity of election commissions. These recommendations are contained in the Final Report on the results of observation of preparations and conduct of the early presidential election of the Kyrgyz Republic, held on January 10, 2021.
The Final Report of the Common Cause PF refers to the period from October 25, 2020 to January 24, 2021, and applies only to the observation of the early presidential election in the Kyrgyz Republic. On Election Day, the Foundation engaged 500 short-term observers, 58 long-term observers, 58 mobile teams, 20 Head Office staff, 8 regional coordinators and 16 lawyers to observe opening, voting, counting and tabulation procedures throughout the country. The Foundation employed statistically valid observation, an advanced election monitoring methodology that allows conclusions to be drawn about specific election-day processes that are representative of the entire country.
Based on the results of nonpartisan observation, the Common Cause Public Foundation worked out 41 recommendations, one of which was the exclusion of the norm on changing the electoral address without introducing an alternative option from the Constitutional Law, which deprived about 300 thousand voters of the opportunity to realize their active voting right at the early presidential election of the Kyrgyz Republic on January 10. The Public Foundation proposes the JK of the KR to return the norm on the electoral address, while specifying that the change of the electoral address is only possible if the voter provides supporting documents about the need to change the electoral address, to limit the right to change the electoral address within one oblast, to increase the time limits for processing the applications or to provide another alternative mechanism for enforcing the active suffrage.
Moreover, the Common Cause PF considers it important to revise the number of electoral barriers when submitting documents to participate in presidential elections of the Kyrgyz Republic, and suggests that legislators eliminate the electoral deposit and keep the minimum number of voter signatures at 30 thousand, introduce special temporary measures into the law to encourage active participation of women candidates in presidential elections of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In the presented report, the observers of the Foundation note that the analysis of the candidates' election campaign financing showed that the absence of universal declaration of incomes and expenditures of the population creates a number of obstacles in monitoring the candidates' finances. The existing system does not allow to trace the sources of funds of persons who contribute to the candidates' election funds. In order to ensure greater transparency of election funds, the Common Cause PF proposes that the law should require disclosure of the sources of origin of contributors' funds in cases when the amount contributed exceeds the amount for the election funds defined by law. It is also proposed to revise the limits on the amount of money contributed to the funds by candidates and individuals. Additionally, the Common Cause PF proposes to introduce itemized reporting forms on income and expenditures for candidates. The CEC, in its turn, should ensure the public posting of these reports with all the data of candidates' counterparties on its official website and make them downloadable.
The Public Foundation also proposes to expand the rights of nonpartisan observers, clarify the rules of campaigning "for" and "against" a particular candidate in the Law on Elections, regulate by law the possibility to hold candidate debates on alternative channels of television broadcasting organizations, and determine the cases of the return of election deposit if the voting results and election results are declared invalid.
As for recommendations to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Foundation proposes to strengthen the work of law enforcement agencies on the timely and full processing of complaints and applications received. The Public Foundation also believes that the Government together with the CEC need to be more active in informing the citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic on the norms of the electoral law, which will prevent a large number of violations and allow citizens to get more information on their rights.