Kyrgyzstan elections – a multitude of choices, carousels caught on video | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Kyrgyzstan elections – a multitude of choices, carousels caught on video

Kyrgyzstan elections – a multitude of choices, carousels caught on video

On Sunday 25 November 2012, Kyrgyzstan held local elections for 25 city councils and 416 village councils around the country. International observers paid particular attention to the elections in Kyrgyzstan’s largest city, the capital Bishkek, and large urban centers such as Jalalabad in the southern part of the country. Kyrgyzstan has traditionally seen a political division between north and south, where different groups tend to hold influence. Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Central Asia representative Ivar Dale visited the capital during the elections.

In the capital Bishkek, a total of 23 parties ran for seats in the City Council. Many of them were newly established and some without representatives in other regions of the country. The party lists were a combination of national and single-region parties. Several parties are expected to widen their activity in the time up to the next parliamentary elections.

Voter turnout on the national level was around 48%, which is somewhat lower than during recent parliamentary elections.

As of mid-day Tuesday, the ruling Social-Democratic Party (SDPK), with which incumbent president Almazbek Atambaev is affiliated, had taken a majority of the votes to the City Council in Bishkek, about 32%. The main contender, Respublika, led by former Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov, came in with almost 18%. The parties Ata-Meken and Zamandash-Sovremennik both received the support of around 10 % of the voters. About 2,5% of those participating in the Bishkek elections chose to cast their vote “against all”.

SDPK also appears to have won in Naryn, a mountainous region in the north-east of the country, but fared less well in other major cities, including Talas in the north-west and Jalalabad and Batken in the south. Respublika took the majority of votes in Talas, whereas the party Onuguu, headed by the current Mayor of Jalalabad took around 35% of the votes in his home town. In Batken, the majority of votes were cast for Zamandash-Sovremennik.

Many of the smaller parties had their own observers present at polling stations, and some complained of vote-rigging on election day. While so-called “carousel” voting (where a voter is paid to cast his or her vote more than once) is difficult to prove, social media in Kyrgyzstan exploded with comments Tuesday morning after a video was posted on the internet of what seemed to be a high-ranking representative of Respublika party instructing young voters on how to organize a carousel. The voters are given passwords and the name of a member of an election commission participating in the vote-rigging. The Central Election Committee was reportedly studying the video Tuesday, while the Prosecutor General’s office opened a formal investigation.

Kyrgyzstan is generally considered to be the country in Central Asia to have seen the greatest progress in terms of political freedoms in the past two years, having introduced a parliamentary system of government with a multitude of new parties established in all regions of the country.

 

As of 8 am Tuesday 26 November, these were the results for the capital Bishek:

 

Sotsial-Demokraticheskaya Partia Kyrgyzstana

36 363

32,22

Respublika

20 247

17,94

Ata-Meken

11 574

10,25

Zamandash-Sovremennik

11 001

9,75

Ar-Namys

5 656

5,01

Akshumkar

5 150

4,56

Meken Yntymagy

3 967

3,51

Za Zhizn’ Bez Barerov

2 064

1,83

Ata-Zhurt

1 903

1,69

Ediniy Kyrgyzstan

1 871

1,66

Demokraticheskaya Partia Stolitsa

1 528

1,35

Adilettuu Kyrgyzstan

1 404

1,24

Soius, Svoboda, Spravedlivost, Rodina (SSSR)

1 116

0,99

Narodno-Demokraticheskaya Partia Kyrgyzstana

913

0,81

Partia Zelenykh Kyrgyzstana

911

0,81

Asaman Ala-Too

805

0,71

Partia Transportnikov Kyrgyzskoi Respubliki

618

0,55

Partia Vozrozhdenia Erkin El

546

0,48

Edinstvo i Razvitie

543

0,48

Patrioty Kyrgyzstana

290

0,26

Egemen Kyrgyzstan

277

0,25

Kayran El

223

0,2

Partia Narodnogo Samoupravleniya Ak Sanat

154

0,14

Against all

2 825

2,50


(Source: AKIPress News Agency, Kyrgyzstan)