The European Union welcomes the efficient organisation of the Parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan that took place on 10 January 2021, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Kazakh authorities’ good cooperation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR). While Kazakhstan has undertaken some political reforms and modernisation processes since the last parliamentary elections, these elections were, however, a missed opportunity to demonstrate their efficient implementation. Long-standing recommendations from the OSCE/ODIHR on several issues also remain unaddressed.
According to the preliminary findings of the OSCE/ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the legal framework in Kazakhstan is not yet conducive to holding elections in line with international standards. While Election Day was generally calm, it was tarnished by limitations on fundamental freedoms, including the detention of peaceful demonstrators. Concerted measures prevented some domestic election observers from effective observation. Systemic shortcomings in relation to respect for freedom of association, of assembly and of expression continue to restrict the political landscape, and had a negative impact on the election. Furthermore, the lack of competition, with no new parties registered since 2013, left voters without a genuine choice. In line with our Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the EU calls on Kazakhstan to address systemic shortcomings, to continue to cooperate constructively with OSCE/ODIHR and fully implement its recommendations.
The European Union will continue to support Kazakhstan’s reform and modernisation processes and democracy, stability and inclusivity in the country.