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Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman
January 24, 2000

Kazakhstan: OSCE Report on October Parliamentary Election

On January 20, the OSCE issued its final statement on the October elections to the lower house (Majilis) of Kazakhstan's parliament. The United States concurs with the OSCE's finding that while constituting a tentative step towards international standards and an improvement from previous elections, the two-round Majilis elections fell short of the OSCE commitments formulated in the 1990 Copenhagen document. The report notes that these commitments for universal, equal, fair, secret, free, transparent, and accountable elections were severely marred by widespread interference by executive authorities in the electoral process.

The United States joins the OSCE in calling for the newly elected parliament and the Government of Kazakhstan to address these shortcomings while the elections are still in the forefront of public debate. We urge Kazakhstan to implement the report's recommendations to restore public confidence by urgently publishing complete election results, ensuring that citizens can challenge the results through the judicial system and that court judgements are enforced, and publishing a report on the disposition of all complaints and appeals filed for the two rounds of elections. The OSCE report provides specific recommendations for reforming electoral legislation, including prohibiting any interference by local authorities, ensuring full transparency and accountability of the voting and tabulation processes, allowing candidates to participate in repeat elections, removing vague administrative penalties that can disqualify candidates, regulating media conduct, and defining penalties for violation of election legislation.

Promotion of democracy and human rights remains a fundamental component of U.S. policy toward Kazakhstan. Democratization was a central theme of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Joint Commission meetings and President Nazarbayev's discussions with President Clinton and Vice President Gore in December. We look forward to working with the Government of Kazakhstan in support of its commitment to implement the recommendations of the OSCE report, as stated in Final Report of the Joint Commission, with the aim of helping build durable democratic institutions and a robust civil society in Kazakhstan.

[end of document]

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