Statement by the Coalition of Kazakhstani Nongovernmental Organizations “Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010”
On the Referendum for Extending the Term of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev through 2020
“Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010” expresses deep concern about the proposed initiative for a national referendum that would cancel scheduled elections and extend the term of the acting President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev through2020.
According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 25, “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions and without unreasonable restrictions, to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors.”
The OSCE Copenhagen Document, which the Government of Kazakhstan re-affirmed during its chairmanship of the OSCE last year, also stipulates that the elections shall be held at reasonable intervals (by secret ballot under conditions which ensure in practice the free expression of the opinion of the electors in the choice of their representatives).
Equally, if not more pertinently, the guarantees defined in Article 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, afford “Every person <the>right to vote and be elected to the government bodies,” should be fully respected. Moreover, the Kazakhstani law “On National Referendums” provides a list of questions that cannot be subject to the referendum as they could bring to violation of the constitutional rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen (Article 3, p.1). This proposed referendum, therefore, violates existing Kazakhstani law in a manner that reduces as opposed to expanding the basic freedoms of Kazakh citizens.
In addition, the proposed referendum would violate the rights of those citizens who want reasonably submit their candidacies during the scheduled presidential elections in 2012, as well as the right of citizens to vote periodically for their Head of State. The proposed referendum, therefore, is not only illegal, but also threatens society with the political destabilization.
We are calling the acting President of Kazakhstan to once more demonstrate his commitment to the values of democracy – values that were proclaimed by our country during the OSCE chairmanship and conduction of OSCE Summit in Astana -- and to hold timely presidential elections of the President of Kazakhstan in 2012.
12 January, 2011
The “Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010” Coalition was founded in July 2008 by several leading nongovernmental organizations of Kazakhstan. The Coalition’s principal task is to monitor how Kazakhstan fulfills its OSCE obligations for democracy development and rule of law in light of the country’s chairmanship in this organization. The Coalition unites Almaty Helsinki Committee, Kazakhstan Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law, “Adil soz” International Foundation for Freedom of Speech, International Center for Journalism “MediaNet”, “Charter for Human Rights” Public Foundation, Republican Network of the Independent Observers, Legal Policy Research Center, and “Internews Kazakhstan”.