Kyrgyzstan: Why Kyrgyzstan uses biometrics in its voting system | GovInsider

The numbers tell a fascinating story. The Kyrgyz Republic has a population of 5 million, and has had 30 Prime Ministers, 5 Presidents, 2 bloody revolutions, and 1 civil war in the southern Osh region since 1991. The government is understandably keen to better engage citizens – perhaps something of an understatement. Technology is seen as the answer for a nation that wants to be a hub on the Digital Silk Road, and it’s using tech to cut corruption, include different viewpoints and increase participation in elections.

Kyrgyzstan: Criminal Case Opened Against Losing Presidential Candidate |

Prosecutors in Kyrgyzstan have opened a criminal case against the runner-up in recent presidential elections, the multimillionaire businessman Omurbek Babanov. Officials are accusing Babanov of fomenting ethnic tension and attempting to incite the overthrow of the government during a campaign stump speech in a largely Uzbek community in the southern city of Osh. “With the intent of garnering votes from the Uzbek section of the population, Babanov talked about rights violations toward ethnic Uzbek, about supposed ethnic inequality in the country and about pressure on ethnic Uzbeks from government bodies, and then he proceeded to incite people to actively resist this situation,” the General Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on November 4. In a statement, Babanov refuted the accusations made against him, calling them “a contrived, politicized criminal case.” 

Kyrgyzstan: Vote-buying, counting glitches marred Kyrgyzstan vote – observers | Reuters

European observers said on Monday vote-buying and significant procedural problems marred Kyrgyzstan’s presidential vote, though they praised the move towards an orderly transfer of power in the volatile ex-Soviet state. Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a protege of the outgoing president, won on Sunday with 55 percent – a stronger result than the near tie polls had predicted. Opposition leader Omurbek Babanov conceded defeat but said he would investigate irregularities. The election is seen as a test of stability in the central Asian country where Russia still holds considerable sway and two previous leaders were ousted in violent riots. Kyrgyz news website published a video showing hundreds of Babanov supporters rallying outside a local government building in his home Talas region. But there were no reports of violence.

Kyrgyzstan: Jeenbekov Wins Kyrgyz Presidential Vote as Rival Urges Stability | Bloomberg

Former Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov won Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election, according to preliminary official data, as his defeated rival called for unity in the central Asian republic that’s been roiled by political violence in the past. Jeenbekov, who’s backed by outgoing President Almazbek Atambayev’s Social Democratic party, received 54.3 percent of the about 1.7 million votes cast, making a run-off unnecessary, the central election commission reported Monday. Businessman Omurbek Babanov, who heads the opposition Respublika party, was second with 33.4 percent. Turnout was 56 percent of 3 million eligible voters.

Kyrgyzstan: Pro-Russia candidates vie as Kyrgyzstan chooses president | Reuters

Kyrgyzstan voted on Sunday in a presidential election with observers predicting no outright winner and a close runoff between two pro-Russian candidates, one of whom is backed by the outgoing leader. The mainly Muslim central Asian nation of 6 million people has a history of violent protest, and the main opposition candidate, oil tycoon Omurbek Babanov, has accused the government of attacking his supporters and campaign staff. President Almazbek Atambayev – likely to remain a powerful figure if his preferred candidate Sooronbai Jeenbekov wins – warned on Sunday he would use any violence as an opportunity to “cleanse” the country.

Kyrgyzstan: Bucking the central Asian trend for rigged elections | The Guardian

There’s something very odd about Kyrgyzstan’s upcoming presidential election. The vote is less than a week away, and nobody knows who is going to win. In a region known for ageing autocrats and rigged elections, Kyrgyzstan is a strange anomaly. The mountainous former Soviet republic of 6 million inhabitants has experienced two revolutions in the past 12 years and is now a chaotic but functioning democracy. A dozen contenders will take part in Sunday’s presidential vote, and the two leading contenders both say they expect to win. One is a former prime minister and the choice of the outgoing president, and the other is a charismatic businessman who promises more economic opportunities for the impoverished country. The capital, Bishkek, is plastered with billboards promoting various candidates, and the leading candidates draw thousands of people to their rallies.

Kyrgyzstan: Diplomat says Kyrgyzstan set for ‘freest and fairest election in central Asian history’ | The Guardian

There’s something very odd about Kyrgyzstan’s upcoming presidential election. The vote is less than a week away, and nobody knows who is going to win. In a region known for ageing autocrats and rigged elections, Kyrgyzstan is a strange anomaly. The mountainous former Soviet republic of 6 million inhabitants has experienced two revolutions in the past 12 years and is now a chaotic but functioning democracy. A dozen contenders will take part in Sunday’s presidential vote, and the two leading contenders both say they expect to win. One is a former prime minister and the choice of the outgoing president, and the other is a charismatic businessman who promises more economic opportunities for the impoverished country. The capital, Bishkek, is plastered with billboards promoting various candidates, and the leading candidates draw thousands of people to their rallies.

Kyrgyzstan: MP Detained on Suspicion of Plotting Election-Related Unrest | EurasiaNet

With just two weeks left to go until Kyrgyzstan’s presidential elections, the authorities have embarked on another highly politicized criminal case, accusing a well-known lawmaker of plotting to foment riots and topple the government. The General Prosecutor’s Office announced in a statement on September 30 that it is filing criminal proceedings against Kanatbek Isayev, who has been formally detained, on charges that he planned to provoke violent unrest in the event of a political ally failing to win the October 15 election. Isayev is identified in the statement as a supporter of one of the election frontrunners, Omurbek Babanov. Prosecutors claim that Isayev entered into an agreement with “representatives of organized criminal groups” to “pursue active measures aimed at the organization of mass unrest.”

Kyrgyzstan: Foreign Ministry accuses Kazakhstan of backing opposition presidential candidate | Reuters

Kyrgyzstan accused Kazakhstan on Wednesday of interfering in its Oct. 15 election after Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met a Kyrgyz opposition presidential candidate, underlining tensions between the Central Asian neighbors. Nazarbayev’s office said on Tuesday he had met the candidate, Omurbek Babanov, a leader of the Kyrgyz opposition Respublika-Ata Zhurt party, in Kazakhstan, and had expressed readiness to work “with a new president in whom the Kyrgyz people will put their trust”. The Kyrgyz foreign ministry said it viewed the meeting and Nazarbayev’s comments as an expression of support for Babanov, 47, one of the main challengers to the ruling party’s candidate.

Kyrgyzstan: Voters amend constitution in referendum, boosting government powers | Reuters

Kyrgyzstan has voted in favor of constitutional changes boosting the power of its government, the Central Election Commission said on Sunday, citing preliminary results of a national referendum. The commission said that with most ballots counted in the Central Asian nation of six million, about 80 percent of voters had supported the package of constitutional amendments proposed by allies of President Almazbek Atambayev. Voter turnout was about 42 percent. The amendments include provisions granting more powers to the prime minister and the government, which is dominated by members of Atambayev’s Social Democratic party.

Kyrgyzstan: Korean technology helps Kyrgyzstan count ballots in election | Korea JoongAng Daily

Korean’s electoral ways may provoke anguish in editorials and groans from the public at large. Don’t tell that to Kyrgyzstan, which thinks Korea’s way with elections is the best. Kyrgyzstan’s general election earlier this month involved 2,338 polling places nationwide. In previous elections, counting the votes was manual and the process took three days. But on Oct. 4, it took only two hours to count 95 percent of votes. The process could be viewed by the public in real-time through the Central Election Commission (CEC) website. The technology was brought in from Korea. Voters placed their ballots on optical readers that read the votes and automatically sent the tallies to the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) via the Internet.

Kyrgyzstan: Pro-Russian Social Democrats win Kyrgyzstan elections | AFP

The Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, linked to pro-Moscow President Almazbek Atambayev, came out on top at Sunday’s parliamentary election in the ex-Soviet state, with five other pro-Russian parties also winning seats. Results released by the country’s Central Electoral Commission showed the SDPK, founded by Atambayev, won the hard-fought poll with close to 27 percent of the vote. In second place was the nationalist Respublika-Ata-Jurt party at just over 20 percent. Most of the parties competing in the election appeared to be alliances of convenience, targeting a regionally divided electorate without clear political platforms.

Kyrgyzstan: Fact Sheet: Kyrgyzstan’s National Elections | RFERL

Official campaigns have wound down ahead of national elections in Kyrgyzstan, where around half of the country’s 5.8 million people are eligible to vote on October 4. In the decade since the so-called Tulip Revolution ousted a Soviet-holdover president, the Kyrgyz social and political landscape has experienced periodic convulsions. But the country has also clung to democracy and a free press sufficiently to remain a bright spot in a region otherwise populated by authoritarian and dynastic governments. RFE/RL’s Qishloq Ovozi blogger Bruce Pannier has spent the last two weeks traveling the country to get a read on the atmosphere in the run-up to the vote and will be in the capital, Bishkek, on election day. … These parliamentary elections feature 14 political parties competing for all 120 seats in the Supreme Council. The vote has particular significance since Kyrgyzstan has a parliamentary system of government and a unicameral legislature.

Kyrgyzstan: Election Worries: Biometrics, Migrants, Technical Difficulties | The Diplomat

Kyrgyzstan, as I have detailed before, is using a new biometric registration system for voting in the upcoming parliamentary election, scheduled for October 4. The law making registration — which requires submission of a fingerprint, photo and signature — mandatory in order to vote was recently upheld as constitutional by the Constitutional Chamber of Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court. The precise substance of the decision is unknown, but one of the human rights activists, Toktaim Umetalieva, who filed the claim against the mandatory biometrics law told AKIpress that “the decision was made in nobody’s favor in fact. That is, the Chamber recognized [the] constitutionality of the law on biometric registration, but ordered the Parliament to rework the law in terms of a precise formulation of goals and objectives, mechanisms and criteria. In such case the law can be changed significantly.” The court’s decision on the constitutionality of the law was preceded by the summer ousting of the judge originally tasked with the case after she was accused of revealing her views on the biometric data law – that it was unconstitutional – before making her ruling public.

Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan Set to Use Biometric Registration in Next Election | The Diplomat

A date for Kyrgyzstan parliamentary election has been set (October 4) and parties are gearing up for the campaign (which starts September 4). The election is much anticipated by regional observers because it should be, unlike most other regional elections, an actual race. The world will also be watching because the country plans to debut the use of a controversial biometric registration program in the election–specifically the use of fingerprints to verify identity before voting. The program is controversial due to concerns about the right to privacy of Kyrgyz citizens and the possible de facto disenfranchisement of any who refuse to submit fingerprints.

Kyrgyzstan: Parliament Gets Ready for Election Season | The Diplomat

As of August 2, 34 political parties have declared their intention to run in Kyrgyzstan’s October 4 parliamentary elections. Kyrgyzstan’s 120-member parliament, called the Jogorku Kengesh, is one of the most dynamic in a region more often associated with pre-determined elections and rubber-stamp parliaments. The election campaign doesn’t begin–by law–until September 4. But it’s not difficult to imagine what will be up for discussion. The last parliamentary election took place six months after the 2010 revolution ousted then-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Though the OSCE identified a few irregularities in that election, they reported that it “constituted a further consolidation of the democratic process.”

Kyrgyzstan: Political Elites Cling On as New Election Cycle Starts | EurasiaNet

Persistent institutional chaos is undermining public confidence in Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary republic as the country enters a new political cycle. Observers fear parliamentary elections this November could destabilize and further fracture Kyrgyzstan, as officials – including the secretive coterie surrounding President Almazbek Atambayev – scramble to accumulate power. With the struggle already underway – and as Kyrgyzstan integrates with its authoritarian neighbors Russia and Kazakhstan in the Eurasian Economic Union – civic groups complain that democratic practices are steadily eroding. Evidence of backsliding on basic rights in 2014 was abundant — ranging from populist and Russia-inspired legislation targeting homosexuals and non-profits, through apparent efforts to muffle and co-opt influential media. Lawmakers have been mooting controversial ideas, such as arming civilians in border areas, and calling for economically unfeasible policies.

Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission receives 127 complaints about violations during presidential elections |

The Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan (CEC) had received 127 claims and complaints about violations committed during presidential elections. This was reported by the member of the CEC Gulnara Dzhurabaeva at the CEC’s session. According to her, 92 complaints were received from citizens, 24 – from presidential candidates and their representatives. The latter had 30 statements and 24 applications of citizens.

Kyrgyzstan: Voters in Kyrgyzstan cast presidential ballots |

Voters in the turbulent Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan voted Sunday in a presidential election that could set a democratic example for authoritarian neighbors. While international observers have hailed the wide range of candidates on offer and recent improvements to electoral legislation, there are concerns that the vote could ignite interregional tensions.

Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished nation of around 5 million people on China’s western fringes, is home to both U.S. and Russian military air bases, making its fortunes the subject of lively international interest.

Outgoing President Roza Otunbayeva, a seasoned diplomat who served as ambassador in Washington and London and has been running the country as interim leader since 2010, will step down later this year to make way for the election winner. That sets the stage for the first peaceful transition of power in this economically struggling ex-Soviet nation’s history.

Kyrgyzstan: Twenty candidates to vie for Kyrgyz presidency | Reuters

Kyrgyzstan will choose its next president from a list of 20 candidates in an election next month that could expose divisions between the north and south of the volatile Central Asian state. Official campaigning began on Monday after the Central Election Commission named its final list of candidates for president of the strategic country of 5.5 million people, which hosts both U.S. and Russian military air bases.

The October 30 vote, which some analysts say will need a second round, will pit current Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev against heavyweight rivals from the south of the country, where central government’s grip on power is tenuous.

The election is the culmination of constitutional reforms introduced after the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010. Current President Roza Otunbayeva, who led the interim government that took power, will step down on December 31.

Kyrgyzstan: Dozens line up to run for Kyrgyz presidency | Daily Times Pakistan

Election officials in Kyrgyzstan must whittle down a field of more than 80 presidential hopefuls before a contest that analysts say could expose divisions between the north and south of the volatile Central Asian state. The Central Election Commission said on Tuesday that 83 people, including 67 independent candidates, had applied to run in the Oct 30 presidential election, the culmination of constitutional reforms introduced after last year’s revolution.

After nearly two decades of authoritarian rule that ended with the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010, Kyrgyzstan is attempting to entrench the first parliamentary democracy in a region otherwise run by presidential strongmen. The new model of government makes parliament the main decision-making body and gives the prime minister more power than the president in the impoverished nation of 5.4 million, which hosts both Russian and US military air bases.

Kyrgyzstan: Committee to Protect Journalists urges Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission to allow news agencies to participate in the elections coverage |

The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan to allow news agencies to participate in the elections coverage.

“Banning any news media from covering a crucial event such as an election is unbecoming of any country that aspires to be regarded as a democracy,” the Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Nina Ognianova, told news agency commenting on the CEC Decision to deprive local news agencies of an accreditation.

Kyrgyzstan: Media Policy Institute comments on Election Commission’s refusal to accredit news agencies |

The Media Policy Institute commented on the decision of the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan to refuse accreditation of the eleven news agencies to take part in the election campaign on presidential elections of 2011. news agency publishes the comments of the Media Policy Institute’s lawyer Aliya Abdraimova with abridgements.

According to her, “publication of the list of accredited mass media of KR (Kyrgyz Republic) for participation in the election campaign for the upcoming elections of the president of the country caused a stormy public debate, as one of the national information agency was not presented.”

Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission adopts regulation on territorial election commission |

Central election and Referendum Commission adopted regulation on territorial election commission. Deputy Head of Organization Department Myrzabek Argymbaev reported that the KR will establish 59 territorial election commissions for the presidential election period.

“We must keep the areas principle because these commissions will be working the next 2 years, during which district and village elections will be held. Candidates reserve for membership will be valid for five years,” he said.

Kyrgyzstan: Authorities in Kyrgyzstan want to control the Central Election Commission – Omurbek Tekebayev |

“Authorities in Kyrgyzstan want to control the Central Election Commission (CEC),” the leader of Ata Meken faction Omurbek Tekebayev told news agency.

He said that there is diarchy in CEC. “The current CEC doesn’t want to hand the power to the new CEC not understanding that its historical task is completed already. Instead of worthful remaining in the history the old CEC headed by Akylbek Sariev plumped into it. And nobody noted the important thing behind numerous scandals around the CEC: it is the first time when the CEC was headed by representatives of the opposition. This is very important thing demonstrating that the system started working in spite of antagonism. However, statements and actions of authorities show that they don’t want that and are trying to control the CEC in every way,” said Omurbek Tekebayev.

Kyrgyzstan: Period for forming election commission should be extended in Kyrgyzstan | Trend

The deadline for forming election commission should be extended in Kyrgyzstan, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Tuigunaaly Abdraimov stated at CEC’s session today, reported.

The CEC’s official Myrzabek Kargynbayev said that corrections must be made in prepared time-table draft. “The period of registration of territorial election commissions must be extended. 2,300 precinct election commission and 56 territorial commissions will be created as well as it is planned to establish 2,296 polling stations.”

Kyrgyzstan: MP indignant at unfair election of Kyrgyzstan Central Election Commission’s members |

Parliament member of Kyrgyzstan is indignant at unfair approach used during election of members of the Central Election Commission (CEC) by the presidential quota. Mrs. Galina Skripkina stated.

She said when the parliamentary quota of 8 persons was approved MPs voted for them through general ticket. “Now we are offered to vote for each four candidates separately. This is unfair. Tomorrow we can be accused of bias. We have to elect them through general ticket,” said Mrs. Skripkina.