It is likely that next week the European Parliament will hold a minute’s silence to honour the victims of the December riots in Kazakhstan. The request was submitted to the head of the EP, Jerzy Buzek by the Open Dialogue Foundation and the MEP Piotr Borys.
In December, in Zhanaozen, a city of 90 000 inhabitants, 16 people were killed. Clashes in the city occurred between dismissed workers of oil companies and special police units. A state of emergency was declared in the city. During a press-conference on Friday, Bartosz Kramek (The Open Dialogue Foundation) announced that the organsation and the MEP Borys requested Jerzy Buzek to hold minute’s silence to commemorate the victims of December riots in Kazakhstan.
‘Next week, on the 17th of January, Jerzy Buzek, will conduct a session of the EP (as the head of the European Parliament) for the final time. Typically, it is a session of a differring nature, of a reflective nature’, said Kramek.
Jerzy Buzek, when asked about this request, said, ‘It is a very natural expectation, and so it will probably happen’. He stressed that ‘this kind of emotional statements and minutes of silence in the EP are held very often’.
Kramek also announced that Polish experts who were to be observers during the early parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan scheduled for the 15th of January, were denied accreditation.
He noted that this information was delivered to the experts as late as the 11th of January, the day before the departure for the mission. ‘We were informed about it by phone. As for the reason behind the refusal we heard that individual persons cannot be observers. We suspect, however, that the real reason is the activity of the Foundation in Kazakhstan. We work with independent media, civil society organisations, we organise debates’, he stressed.
‘The documentation for accreditation was prepared thoroughly, and it was more than sufficient’, said Kramek.
In his opinion, the denial to admit observers can be viewed as evidence of the fact that during the elections in Kazakhstan some irregularities may occur. ‘We know that not all the parties were admitted to the election’, he stressed. According to him, main opposition parties were prevented from running in the election.
The OSCE issued an evaluation, according to which, last year’s presidential election in Kazakhstan, in which the President Nursultan Nazarbaev won more than 95 percent of the vote, did not meet democratic standards. The organisation discovered serious irregularities: a large number of identical signatures on electoral lists, cases of adding cards to the polls. Moreover, according to the observers, the process of counting votes was not transparent, and the local media were forced to operate in an unfavorable climate which imposed self-censorship.
Until now, according to the OSCE, since the time when Kazkhstan gained independence, there have been no genuinely free elections in the country.