Lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan have passed legislation that will greatly limit the rights of independent monitors at the upcoming presidential election in October.
The rules will limit international and local nongovernmental organizations to just one representative per polling station. Observers will no longer be able to record written complaints on-site, but will instead be allowed to do so only verbally, meaning no paper trail is to be created. Also, monitors will be required to register beforehand at one specific polling station. If reports come in about violations at another polling station, monitors will not be permitted to go and continue their vetting activities there. Since nongovernmental organizations have limited resources and staff, the rules mean many polling stations will go unmonitored by anybody but party political representatives.
Rights activist Dinara Oshurhanova said the rules will open the way to malpractice and fraud.
“Unprincipled members of the Central Election Commission will know and take advantage of the fact that we have no right to file formal complaints,” she said.
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