Kazakhstan’s Election Commission will not send observer to Kyrgyzstan election

ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission says it will not send an observer to the October 15 presidential poll in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, citing what it called Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev’s “contrived” accusations of meddling in the campaign, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports.

At a Kazakh Central Election Commission (CEC) meeting on October 13, CEC member Marat Sarsenbaev said he was rejecting an invitation to observe the election “to avoid speculation that our country is in any way interfering in the voting in Kyrgyzstan.”

The commission supported the move. Deputy chairman Konstantin Petrov announced that the CEC will not observe the election following “unprecedented statements by the president of Kyrgyzstan about Kazakhstan.”

However, the CEC said 46 Kazakh officials will take part in observing the Kyrgyz elections in the missions of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking Countries.

On October 7, Atambayev accused Kazakh authorities of “meddling in Kyrgyzstan’s internal affairs” and of openly supporting Omurbek Babanov, who is facing off against Atambayev’s former prime minister and favored successor Sooronbai Jeenbekov as well as other candidates in the vote.

The accusations came after Kazakh President Nazarbayev met on September 19 with Babanov, who is seen as a front-runner along with ruling Social Democratic Party candidate Jeenbekov.

The presidential campaign in Kyrgyzstan officially ends at midnight on October 13, with campaigning prohibited on the day before the vote.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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