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Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
February 28, 2000

Kyrgyzstan: Concern Over Pre-Election Irregularities

The OSCE issued a preliminary report on the February 20 Parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, noting that the elections were "not in full compliance with OSCE commitments." Full and final results of the first round elections have not yet been released. We consider the OSCE statement to be balanced and fair, and share the concerns expressed in it. While noting some important improvements in the process, the OSCE cited a number of apparent irregularities in the electoral process, including questions of media access and state-owned media bias, as well as interference in the elections by judicial and executive branch officials. We and the OSCE are particularly concerned by the use of judicial proceedings against some candidates and parties, which has had the effect of limiting the choice of candidates available to Kyrgyz voters.

The OSCE credited Kyrgyzstan's independent media and NGO community, as well as international observers, for playing a key part in ensuring that the election day process was relatively free of irregularities. We welcome the positive role of these institutions as evidence of the growth on Kyrgyz civil society. These groups will have a similarly crucial role in the March 12 run-off elections.

There is time to rectify some of the problems identified by the OSCE before the second round elections on March 12. We strongly urge the Government of Kyrgyzstan to take advantage of this opportunity to meet its OSCE commitments by ensuring that all candidates qualifying for the second round are allowed to participate in an unhindered electoral process that is free, fair and transparent.

[end of document]

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