Sester and Šorin observing parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan

Sven Sester.
Sven Sester. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Head of the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Sven Sester (Isamaa) and member of the delegation Marko Šorin (Center) are on an observation mission in Kazakhstan where early parliamentary elections will be held on Sunday.

In a Riigikogu press release, Sester explained that there is wide international interest in the Kazakh elections and democratic development in the country.

Kazakhstan suffered a period of violent unrest in January last year, a referendum to change the Constitution was held in June, and then in November, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was re-elected as president following early elections.

"Kazakhstan has launched into political and economic reforms. We want to see how the introduced changes are being applied during these elections and what impact these have," Sester said.

Member of the delegation Marko Šorin is also interested in observing whether Tokayev's Kazakhstan will be able to distance itself from Russia. "Although Tokayev does not recognize the Russian-occupied territories as part of Russia and values the territorial integrity of countries, it is not so easy to break free from Russia's influence. Considering the influence of Kazakhstan on the region, we need to keep an eye on developments there," Šorin said.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dissolved the lower house of the Kazakh Parliament (Mazhilis) on January 19 this year and set March 19 as the date for early parliamentary elections.

President Tokayev expressed hope that the elections would give the country an extra push towards modernization. The last parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan were held on March 20, 2019, and were also called early.

More than 60 members of 24 national parliaments will observe the parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan within the framework of the mission organized by the OSCE PA.

The observers will follow the voting procedure, fairness and freedom of the election campaign as well as issues related to access to media, and correct and the accurate proclamation of the election results.

Election observation missions have been an important part of OSCE's activities since 1993. The missions monitor whether the elections are conducted legitimately and respect democratic standards


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Editor: Michael Cole

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