Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Constructive dialogue of European Parliament on elections in Kazakhstan

Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies - 11 November 2005

Hearing devoted to the forthcoming Presidential elections in Kazakhstan was held in European Parliament (EP) on the initiative of the European People's Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED Group) deputies on November 10.In the course of the sitting the political situation, freedom of the mass media and development of civil society in Kazakhstan were discussed. The deputies of EP, delegation of Kazakhstan, headed by the first Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs, Special Representative of Kazakhstan for collaboration with OSCE Rakhat Aliyev, representatives of Kazakhstani opposition, international non-governmental organizations and journalists participated in the debates.

Vice President of EPP-ED Group, the largest fraction of EP, Joao de Deus Pinheiro noted the hearing is aimed to consolidate the mutual understanding and collaboration between Kazakhstan and European Union (EU) by means of open constructive dialogue on the problems of democratic reforms' advancement.

The first Vice-Chairman of the EP Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca highly estimated the evolutionary character of the political reforms and consolidation of democratic institutions in Kazakhstan. He also pointed out Kazakhstan is the most important strategic partner of EU and key element of the regional stability in Central Asia.

The EP deputy Vytautas Landsbergis emphasized Kazakhstan managed to get rid of its colonial past, pass through a difficult period of formation of statehood and market economy. He stressed the importance of the current period in the political development of the country and high level of responsibility of Kazakhstani authorities for democratic future of the country. Having paid special attention to the complicacy of geopolitical situation in Central Asia, the deputy noted the necessity of deepening of relations between EU and Kazakhstan.

According to the EP deputy Janusz Wojciechowski in spite of the totalitarian heritage, serious problems of post-Soviet period, menace of economy collapse and internal destabilization Kazakhstan became dynamically developing country, which gradually advances by the way of economic and democratic reforms. The deputy thanked Kazakhstani people for their assistance to Polacks, deported to Kazakhstan in 1930s.

In the framework of discussion the representatives of joint oppositional bloc of political parties "For fair Kazakhstan" and "Alga" (Forward), International Federation of Journalists, international and Kazakhstani NGOs "International Freedom Network" and Kazakhstan Association of Political Sciences and London University gave speeches.

The head of Kazakhstani delegation Rakhat Aliyev pointed out Kazakhstan concernment in consolidation of cooperation with EU. He told about the preparation to the Presidential elections and measures on provision of their honesty and transparency and full compliancy with the international standards. He also emphasized the practical steps of Kazakhstani authorities on support of large-scaled social dialogue and consolidation of NGOs and mass media role in the process of political liberalization. The determination of Kazakhstan to make democratic reforms more profound in the context of the country's intention to strive for OSCE presidency in 2009 was also mentioned.

The members of our delegation, Kazakhstan Ambassador to EU K. Zhigalov, deputy of Parliament D. Klebanova, Vice Ministers of Culture, Information and Sport and Justice A. Doszhan and S. Nugmanova, Central Electoral Commission Secretary V. Foos stated Kazakhstani side attaches great importance to the problem of guarantee of equal conditions to all candidates in the course of preparation to the Presidential elections, impartial coverage of the election campaign of all nominees in mass media.

Summing up the results of the hearing the deputy of EP, Vice Chairman of Subcommittee on Human Rights Charles Tannock thanked all participants of the meeting for interesting constructive and fruitful dialogue. He stated EU welcomes Kazakhstan intention to hold honest and free elections which will be guarantee for further development of the democratic reforms in the country.
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