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Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman
March 14, 2000

Kyrgyzstan: Second Round of Parliamentary Elections Flawed

The United States is disappointed by the conduct of the 2000 parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, which culminated in a second round of voting on March 12. In its preliminary report issued March 13, the OSCE election observer mission in Kyrgyzstan concluded that the elections failed to comply with fundamental OSCE commitments. We fully support the conclusions of the report.

The OSCE noted that executive and judicial branch interference in the electoral process continued through the runoffs, despite international criticism of these practices following the first round. In decisions which appear politically motivated, a number of prominent opposition candidates were disqualified or de-registered before the runoffs, despite having led the voting after the first round. Although there were improvements in overall election administration on the day of the vote, the process was marred by serious irregularities in a number of key electoral districts. Allegations of ballot tampering, government intimidation of voters, and harassment of campaign officials surrounded the contests of a number of opposition leaders.

The United States has an abiding interest in supporting the people of Kyrgyzstan as they continue the difficult task of building a modern state founded on democratic institutions. For this reason, we regret that the conduct of these elections amounted to a clear setback for the democratic process. We urge the Government of Kyrgyzstan to fulfill its international commitments and correct the problems that marred these parliamentary elections to provide a strong basis for free, fair and transparent presidential elections scheduled at the end of 2000

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