Kyrgyz elections as witnessed by HRC Viasna observer
The activist of the Human Rights Center Viasna Tatsiana Raviaka observed the second round of the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan. She went there as an observer representing the international organization European network of election monitoring organization (ENEMO), which unites 17 countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The Human Rights Center Viasna represents Belarus in the ENEMO. After she came back, T.Raviaka shared her impressions with Uladzimier Hlod, the Radio Liberty correspondent.
Tatsiana Raviaka was assigned to monitor elections in Taktagul, Dzhelalabad Region. This regions is beyond great mountain passes. The only road that connects the region to Bishkek, the capital city is dangerous due to likely avalanches of snow. Because Dzhelalabad Region demonstrated its opposition-mindedness during the first round of elections, the authorities made an attempt to cut it off, says the Belarusian observer:
(Raviaka: ) "That was how communications had been blocked, with only possible way to get there by air. What else can I say? A lot of pressure from the administration. A candidate supported by the authorities puts his man into a polling station, and that man tells the voters who to vote for. This occurred in multiple cases. Another method employed was a voluntary unit of militia – around ten and sometimes more young people with red bands around their arms could be seen on the polling station premises, their purpose allegedly being to ensure order. For some reason, those militia people always turned out to be on the side of the same candidate, and exerted pressure on the voters. The voters were tampered with in a lot of cases, especially in the province. People, most of them poor, were simply given money – 100-200 soms. Briefly, one vote cost around 5 dollars. And that happened everywhere."
What's the evaluation of the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan given by the international organization? Tatsiana Raviaka, a Belarusian observer, says that the evaluation was negative:
(Raviaka: ) "The elections did not conform to the main requirements of democratic, free and transparent elections".
Ms Raviaka left Kyrgyzstan one day before the opposition started to demand that the election results be canceled. "Were you surprised to see the situation developing in this way?" , I asked Tatsiana Raviaka.
(Raviaka: ) "No, that did not come as a surprise. I was surprised by something else – voters' activity. At 7 in the morning (while the station opens at 8) almost all of the voters could be seen outside the station. After it opened, the doors were broken open, all of the door-frame. It rained all day long, but people stood outside the stations. The count of the votes ended at 1 a.m.: the people got all wet, standing in the rain and dirt and waiting for the results. They were important to them".
I asked Tatsiana Raviaka if she could compare the power of the opposition in Kyrgyzstan and in Belarus.
(Raviaka: )"The situation in Kyrgyzstan is somewhat different. To start with, they have altogether different election law. It is far more democratic than the one we have in Belarus. They have not learnt to grossly falsify the legislation and to scare the people taking to streets to protest against such falsifications. Our candidates have a harder time than the opposition in Kyrgyzstan."