06ASTANA43, KAZAKHSTAN: CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION CHAIRMAN STILL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA43 2006-05-10 16:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0160
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAST #0043/01 1301641
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101641Z MAY 06
FM USOFFICE ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0127
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0119
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0050
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0129

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000043 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
SCA/CEN - MUDGE, O'MARA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION CHAIRMAN STILL 
CONSIDERING OSCE RECOMMENDATIONS AND FUTURE PLANS 
 
 
ASTANA 00000043  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  During a May 5 meeting with Assistant 
Secretary Boucher and Elisabeth Millard of the National Security 
 
SIPDIS 
Council, the Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Onalsyn 
Zhumabekov claimed the Commission is committed solidly to 
conducting free elections, and said he will implement further 
OSCE recommendations.  End summary. 
 
 
 
"Just Like in Any Democratic Country" 
 
------------------------------------- 
 
 
 
2. (SBU) Elections in Kazakhstan, Zhumabekov began, "have a 
virtually continuous character, just like in any democratic 
country."  Most recently there were Mazhilis elections in fall 
2004, Senate elections in August 2005, and - most significantly 
- the Presidential election held on December 4, 2005.  August 
2005 also saw "experimental" elections of four district 
("rayon") akims.  Zhumabekov noted that there are plans to 
expand the experiment this year: one-third of all district and 
city-level akims will be elected.  (Note:  District and 
city-level akims are traditionally appointed by regional akims. 
End note.)  Also approaching are the September 2007 Maslikhat 
(local legislature) elections, the 2008 Senate elections, and 
the 2009 Mazhilis elections. 
 
 
 
3. (SBU) Zhumabekov explained that the Central Election 
Commission is responsible for elections at all levels.  He added 
that Kazakhstan has over 13,000 local election commissions, of 
which about 9,000 operate at the polling-station level.  Each 
polling station, in turn, has no more than 3,000 voters. 
Zhumabekov said that the Central Election Commission has been 
developing contacts with its counterparts in other countries, 
including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Great 
Britain, and France.  Kazakhstan is particularly interested in 
French law, he said, due to constitutional commonalities between 
France and Kazakhstan. 
 
 
 
OSCE Recommendations: "On Some We Have Our Own Stance" 
 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
 
 
4. (SBU) Zhumabekov said that the December 2005 Presidential 
election was held "in full openness."  More than 1,200 foreign 
observers and over 400 foreign journalists were present.  No 
election is perfect, noted Zhumabekov; "we are analyzing" the 
pitfalls.  We believe, he continued, that our legislation 
conforms to international standards, including those applicable 
to Kazakhstan by virtue of its OSCE membership.  He said that 
the Central Election Commission was currently studying the 30 or 
so recommendations made by the OSCE following the presidential 
election: "on some we agree; on some we have our own stance." 
The recommendations, Zhumabekov said, were more about the 
application of the law and the operation of the Central Election 
Commission than about the law itself.  A number of the OSCE 
criticisms, he continued, Kazakhstan believes to be 
well-grounded.  One example is the fact that at present the law 
does not clearly specify the deadline for submission of 
signatures in support of presidential candidates.  Another 
issue, which "every country faces," is improving ways of putting 
together lists of voters. 
 
 
 
5. (SBU) Most of the violations in the presidential election 
were minor, said Zhumabekov.  Many of the more than 90,000 
members of local election committees are pensioners and others 
not well-versed in law.  Work is ongoing to punish the 
violators: over 30 local akims have been disciplined, and heads 
of some local election commissions have been removed.  The CEC, 
Zhumabekov added, constantly monitors the work of local election 
commissions and local executive authorities. 
 
 
 
Enforcing Law and Fairness - Independently 
 
------------------------------------------ 
 
ASTANA 00000043  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
 
 
 
6. (SBU) In response to Ambassador Boucher's question on the 
Central Election Commission's purview, Zhumabekov explained that 
his organization is charged with enforcing the law on elections. 
 Campaigning is within the Commission's realm, but public 
demonstrations are not.  It is the Commission's responsibility 
to ensure equal access for candidates to the press.  The 
Commission also monitors the fairness of payment procedures for 
candidates wishing to advertise in the media; candidates are, 
however, free to negotiate their own financial arrangements. 
Zhumabekov noted that the Commission has more control over state 
media than over private outlets.  It oversees compliance with 
the law requiring state media outlets to provide, free of 
charge, basic information on political candidates.  In any case, 
he noted, the state's share in the media is currently 20% and 
falling. 
 
 

 
7. (SBU) Zhumabekov stated that the Commission is a fully 
independent body, unassociated with any branch of government. 
It consists of seven people chosen by the Mazhilis, on the 
recommendation of the President, to serve five-year terms. 
Likewise, members of local election commissions are chosen for 
five-year terms by the Maslikhats on recommendation of "all the 
political parties."  The Commission's budget is derived from the 
budget proposal submitted to the government by the Republican 
Budget Commission (RBC).  The CEC defends its budget provisions 
with the RBC, the government, and the Parliament.  But, 
Zhumabekov noted, "our proposals do not meet resistance at any 
level."  Once the funding is granted, he continued, the 
Commission is fully free to disburse it as it sees fit. 
 
 
 
8. (U) This message has been cleared by A/S Boucher. 
TRACY

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