Kazakh Election Official Pledges Greater Vote Transparency
29 November 2005 -- Kazakh Central Electoral Commission Chairman Onalsyn Zhumabekov vowed on 28 November to ensure greater voting transparency in the country's upcoming presidential election, Interfax reported.
In a meeting in Astana with U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan John Ordway, Zhumabekov reported that initial results from the presidential balloting will be released within 24 hours of the closing of polls.
In another move seemingly intended to improve the conduct of the 4 December election, the electoral commission on 28 November reversed its earlier decree introducing the use of special ballot envelopes for the election, according to Interfax. Electoral Commission Chairman Zhumabekov explained that although such "envelopes were used during the last election to the Mazhilis [the lower house of parliament], there are opinions being voiced to the effect that envelopes may be used by some unscrupulous participants in the electoral process" for illegal ballot stuffing.
Meanwhile, as the deadline for the registration of election observers closed on 28 November, the Kazakh Central Election Commission also announced in a meeting in Astana on 28 November that it had formally registered some 1,590 foreign and 163 foreign media representatives, according to Interfax.
The Mazhilis is also reportedly considering new amendments to the country's election law, seeking to overturn a prohibition on rallies and demonstrations in the postelection period, Interfax reported on 28 November. (Richard Giragosian)