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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ALMATY1576
2006-05-02 01:35:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
US Office Almaty
Cable title:  

KAZAKHSTAN: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH CEC CHAIR

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PREL  KZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO0142
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #1576/01 1220135
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020135Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY ALMATY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5150
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0189
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0328
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1560
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ALMATY 001576 

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN (J. MUDGE)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH CEC CHAIR
ZHUMABEKOV

REF: 05 Almaty 4285



1. (SBU) Summary: The Central Election Commission is
reviewing its election law and procedures with ODIHR, and
preparing for October 2007 maslikhat elections, according to
CEC chair Zhumabekov. While the Kazakhstani government
believes that its election law largely conforms to
international standards and does not require significant
changes, the CEC is carefully reviewing recommendations made
by ODIHR following the December 2005 presidential elections.
Zhumabekov noted that the government did not agree with some
of the recommendations; others would be addressed by better
training of poll workers and clarifications to existing
legislation. He informed the Ambassador that as a result of
election day violations, administrative penalties had been
levied on 263 individuals and five district akims had been
fired. Zhumabekov firmly rejected the idea that procedures
for forming election commissions should be changed, arguing
that the lack of political diversity was the result of the
opposition's failure to participate in local elections. He
informed the Ambassador that legislation to repeal the ban
on demonstrations after elections was still with parliament.
End summary.



2. (U) In an April 25 meeting in Astana, Central Election
Commission (CEC) chairman Onalsyn Zhumabekov told the
Ambassador that the CEC was taking advantage of the relative
calm following the presidential elections to review
electoral legislation and prepare for upcoming elections.
There will be a number of by-elections scheduled through the
spring and summer to elect replacement members to local
maslikhats, including in Astana on June 10. Zhumabekov said
that the process would end in October 2006, as the law does
not permit the election of replacement maslikhat members
within one year of the next scheduled election, to be held
in October 2007.



3. (SBU) Longer term, the schedule includes Mazhilis
elections in 2008, Senate elections in 2009, and
presidential elections in 2012. Zhumabekov commented that
if the structure of the Mazhilis were changed, elections
might occur earlier.



4. (SBU) Zhumabekov said the CEC was reviewing a variety of
proposed changes to the electoral law from different
sources. He stated that government of Kazakhstan believes
that the law meets international standards and does not
require significant changes. Nonetheless, the CEC was still
working closely with ODIHR on their recommendations.
Zhumabekov had met with Christian Strohal during the
latter's recent visit to Astana, and a group of CEC experts
will visit ODIHR in Warsaw on May 24 to discuss the final
election report and suggested actions.



5. (SBU) Zhumabekov said that the Kazakhstani government had
reached "a better understanding" with ODIHR since the
elections; ODIHR now agreed that Kazakhstan had implemented
many of its recommendations. He stressed that Kazakhstan
does not agree with some of the recommendations and does not
plan to implement them. Zhumabekov expects discussion in
Warsaw to focus primarily on the correct application of
existing laws, including objective judicial review of
complaints. The one exception, he said, was the need to
clarify the deadline for submission of signatures in support
of presidential candidates to the local electoral
commissions for review. Senator Ualikhan Kaysarov's
unsuccessful appeal of the CEC's decision not to register
him as a candidate had highlighted this issue. The
Ambassador suggested that once the process of ODIHR
consultations was finished, the Kazakhstani government might
find it useful to hire an international consultant to help
implement the agreed-upon steps.



6. (SBU) Zhumabekov informed the Ambassador that the CEC was
organizing a series of public events in the coming months to
discuss further improvements to the election law, including
a May 19 roundtable in Almaty. Zhumabekov acknowledged that
there had been some procedural violations and a lack of
transparency in the operation of lower level electoral
commissions, which the CEC planned to address through
additional training.



7. (SBU) In response to the Ambassador's question about the
investigation of violations during the presidential
election, Zhumabekov reported that 1215 complaints had been

ALMATY 00001576 002 OF 002


filed with the courts, including 51 with the Supreme Court;
3142 complaints had been filed with the procuracy; and 28861
complaints had been filed with various election commissions,
including 260 with the CEC. As a result, 27 criminal cases
were launched and 4855 administrative cases were reviewed.
Administrative penalties were assessed on 263 individuals,
including four city akims and one district akim. Five
village akims were fired.



8. (SBU) The Ambassador noted that international observers
often criticize the lack of political diversity within
electoral commissions, and asked Zhumabekov whether there
were plans to change the way the bodies were formed. The
CEC Chair said that "this discussion had been concluded"
with the 2004 changes to the electoral law specifying that
local maslikhats choose the members of electoral
commissions; Kazakhstan could not be expected to copy the
system of another country. Zhumabekov said that he
frequently encouraged opposition parties to focus on the
maslikhat elections, rather than just parliamentary and
presidential races, in order to broaden their local
representation and have the opportunity to choose electoral
commission members. Fair conditions for competition exist
in Kazakhstan, Zhumabekov stressed; the parties just needed
to take advantage of the opportunities.



9. (SBU) The Ambassador asked Zhumabekov about the status of
efforts to repeal the ban on rallies between the end of
voting and the announcement of results (reftel). Zhumabekov
said the necessary legislation had been submitted to
parliament six months ago, but they were "not hurrying with
it." It would have to be considered by a joint session of
parliament as it involved changes to a constitutional law.
The Ambassador urged Zhumabekov to push for completion of
the legislation in the near future.

ORDWAY