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2005-11-10
Kazakhstan: Are presidential elections 2005 to be free and fair? Laima Andrikienė MEP

On the initiative of the Lithuanian MEP Laima Andrikienė the EPP-ED Group on November 10 in the European Parliament held the public hearing on the forthcoming presidential elections  in Kazakhstan (December 4, 2005). The Members of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, Joao de Deus Pinheiro,  Gyorgy Schopflin, Charles Tannock, Vytautas Landsbergis, Janusz Wojciechowski and others as well as the representatives of the democratic opposition in Kazakhstan, independent journalists and human rights activists discussed the current political situation, freedom of the media and the state of the civil society in Kazakhstan. Many participants of the conference expressed a serious concern regarding recent developments during the election campaign and possible attempts to influence the electoral results by the authorities.

The initiator of the hearing Laima Andrikienė said that Kazakhstan's progress in democratisation and protection of human rights is significantly slower than its progress in establishing a market economy.

"Mixed signals are coming from this country including that "the media situation is worsening with the closure of several newspapers following doubtful Court decisions", that "political freedom is deteriorating with repeated detentions of representatives of the democratic opposition" and so on; however, pointing out "some positive aspects like introduction of the open-ended moratorium on the death penalty and the establishment of an Ombudsman"- said Laima Andrikienė.

"Kazakhstan is a country of a significant importance to the European Union. On December the 4th the new president of the country should be elected, and these election as all the elections first of all have to be free and fair. That is what we would like to achieve everywhere and in Kazakhstan particular"- emphasized Laima Andrikienė.

The representative of the International Federation of Journalists Olivier Money-Kyrle has criticized the situation of free media in Kazakhstan. "Country is fully controlled by the President and the members of his family. Yes, there is a pluralism, however all the media is controlled, and only those are allowed to function, which praises the authority of the President Nazarbayev," - said Olivier Money-Kyrle.

The delegation of the Government and Parliament of Kazakhstan lead by the first Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rakhat Alijev participated in the hearing. 

The delegation of the European Parliament will monitor the presidential elections on December 4, 2005.

Further information:

EPP -ED Press Service

Ž.Didžgalvienė, GSM: + 32 475 75 1627