Voters in Kyrgyzstan go to the polls this Sunday to elect a new parliament, with 14 political parties contesting the 120 seats in the Jogorku Kenesh. The ruling Social Democratic Party (SDRK), under its leader President Almazbek Atambayev, is set to keep its hold on government. But this time, other parties have also been given access to ‘administrative resources’ to help sway the voters, and Atambayev’s political competitors have been happily upholding the tradition of misusing them.
Every week, dozens of anonymous public sector workers – teachers, doctors and other professionals – report infringements of election campaign regulations and pressure on voters from political parties to voluntary sector organisations, journalists and even the political parties themselves.
NGO organisations complain, however, that people are afraid to report this officially, to the police or the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), or to put their names to their complaints.