Significant shortcomings in presidential election in Kazakhstan

‘I am disappointed about the way the presidential election in Kazakhstan at the weekend was carried out. The preliminary report from the OSCE observers indicates serious shortcomings and irregularities. This increases our concern about the conditions for democracy in the country,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

According to the preliminary results, President Nursultan Nazarbayev was re-elected with 97.7% of the vote, and a turnout of 95.2%. The preliminary report from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) identifies a number of problems with the run-up to the election and the election itself. The report points out, for example, that the necessary reforms for holding genuine democratic elections still have to materialise.  

‘It is not long since Kazakhstan held the chairmanship of the OSCE. Kazakhstan is an important partner for Europe and for Norway. We will continue to support reforms that can promote democracy and respect for human rights. The country’s authorities must show that they are willing to follow up the obligations Kazakhstan has taken on. It is important that the shortcomings identified in the ODIHR report are addressed. Norway and the international community will support democracy development in Kazakhstan, but this will, of course, only be possible if Kazakhstan shows, in practice, that this is what the country wants,’ said Mr Brende.