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   The UN Link / The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan
# 255
July 14, 2005

In this issue:


  • Paving the Way for Democratic Elections in Kyrgyzstan


Paving the Way for Democratic Elections in Kyrgyzstan

UNDP Support to Democratic Elections in the Kyrgyz Republic Resulting in Broad Range of Improvements during Presidential Elections

“The cooperation with UNDP resulted in concrete and noticeable impact in organizing transparent and open presidential elections – concluded Tuygunaaly Abdraimov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission in the Kyrgyz Republic (CEC) in an official letter of thanks to UNDP Resident Representative Jerzy Skuratowicz today.

The democratic quality of the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan signalled according to international observers a tangible progress compared with elections in the past and could serve as a land mark for improved elections also in other countries in the region.

“This will strengthen the stability of the country, build favourable conditions for development and reforms and get the recognition and support of international community, said Mr. Skuratowicz in his complimentary address given today to a newly elected President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Through its project “Support to Democratic Elections in Kyrgyzstan”, which started in autumn 2004 and is implemented in cooperation with the CEC, UNDP provided financial assistance as well as technical advice to the conduct of the presidential elections.

“UNDP was the main partner of CEC, civil society, political parties and the media in building up the process in just three months time given for the preparation of these elections, - said Oskar Lehner, international advisor of the UNDP project.

The financial value of UNDP’s support and activities for the presidential elections is close to 800,000 USD. The funding was provided by UNDP and the Governments of Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The areas of activities were chosen after a careful needs assessment after the February elections.

Major components of assistance were the procurement and installation of the new country-wide computer network, which is used for the establishing the voters lists as well as for election result transfer on election-day. UNDP further equipped the election administration with a new media and press centre as well as office equipment to help the moving of the CEC office out of the government building to a new location. A large number of informational brochures, posters and flyers were financed and provided to the CEC, which were issued before the elections or used on election-day at the polling stations. UNDP initiated and sponsored election result sheets on self-copying paper for recording the polling station results contributed to the transparency and integrity of the result transfer.

A second key area in UNDP’s support to the presidential elections was a comprehensive voter education campaign which provided voters with the necessary information on the electoral procedures as well as on the candidates who participated in the electoral race. The international observer mission of the IRI led by the English and Thai parliamentarians confirmed that in this election “unprecedented voter education efforts and widespread distribution of candidate information […] resulted in vast increases in the amount of information available to voters on candidates, issues and electoral procedures.”

Together with the CEC, UNDP produced more than one million copies of an election newspaper which allocated space to all candidates to publish their program and biography. This newspaper – printed in Kyrgyz and Russian and presumably the largest single publication ever in Kyrgyzstan’s history – was distributed by Precinct Election Commission members to households across the country. Some 700 minutes of TV and 1500 minutes radio reels were aired by over 30 national and local stations addressing key target groups e.g. female voters and first time voters in order to encourage them to participate in the elections. Special advertisements were designed and broadcast by UNDP to make the electorate aware of the negative consequences of vote buying. UNDP together with the OSCE and the CEC produced and broadcast 12 TV educative programs which addressed different issues of the elections. In all oblasts special voter education trainings were conducted for women as well as for university students. Recognizing the importance of Civil Society Organisations as key-stakeholders in democratic elections UNDP also funded the voter education activities of a number of NGOs, e.g. for pensioners and disabled persons.

Trainings improved the complaints and appeals process. Judges, prosecutors, members of the police as well as representatives of the ombudsman institution in all oblasts received joint trainings on election related issues.

UNDP together with the Foundation for Tolerance International, OSCE, IFES and SDC is supporting a country wide network “Early Warning for Violence Prevention”. The network should rise alert regarding a possible built up of tensions and proposes measures to mediate in certain conflict situations.

All activities were implemented in close coordination with other international organisations. A maintained coordination data base ensured that there was no overlapping of activities and no areas were left out. Not only material support was provided. Jointly with all other organisations which provided support to the presidential elections, e.g. OSCE, USAID funded organizations, UNDP elaborated several sets of concrete recommendations on necessary improvements in the conduct of the elections, involving CEC and the candidates for Presidency.

UNDP Kyrgyzstan would like to take the opportunity to express its congratulations to the People of Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz authorities for the successful and peaceful conduct of the Presidential election on 10 July 2005 and to express its appreciation to the Kyrgyz election administration, to all international and domestic organisations providing election assistance, as well as to all stake holders of the elections for the very good cooperation during the past months.

For further information, including interview with Jerzy Skuratowicz please contact Olga Grebennikova (Bishkek) at tel: 996-312-611-213 or 996-502-512-299.Email:

UNDP is the United Nations worldwide development network. It advocates change and provides countries with access to the knowledge, skills and resources their populations need to improve their lives. To receive more UNDP news bulletins about development issues and projects around the world, please subscribe here:

For more information, please contact Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Affairs Officer. Phone: 996 – 312 – 611-213, mobile 996-502-512-299. Email:

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