On 7 May 2020, an agreement was signed between UNDP and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to provide €500,000 from the German Government to promote and support measures within the project to improve the democratic electoral process in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2020-2021.
The agreement was signed by UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic Louise Chamberlain and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Kyrgyz Republic Monika Iwersen in the presence of N. Shaildabekova, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission.
These funds are presented under the Kyrgyz Electoral Support Programme, which is implemented by UNDP. Germany's assistance is an addition to the recently signed UNDP agreements with the governments of Japan and Switzerland and goes in line with the Kyrgyz Republic's goals to promote democracy and parliamentarism.
The Chair of the KR CEC expressed gratitude to the Government of Germany for supporting important activities to improve the electoral process, which include educational, informational and practical activities to increase inclusiveness, financial transparency of parties and candidate electoral funds, improving the mechanism of free elections through better handling of electoral disputes.
She noted that all directions selected by the German side for support are measures envisaged in the Strategy of improving the election legislation of the KR for 2018-2020, approved by the National Council on Sustainable Development of the Kyrgyz Republic and in the aggregate will allow achieving its main objectives.
"In Kyrgyzstan, a global restructuring of the electoral system has been underway since 2014. The first stage of the reform has been completed with good results. The first electoral cycle was completed in 2017 and was made possible thanks to the strong support of our partners UNDP, as one of the first organizations to support reforms in Kyrgyzstan in collaboration with other partners. I am grateful to UNDP for its great integrated work, and I am grateful to our German partners with whom we have met and discussed the key points of the reform on many occasions. I am very grateful that the project reflects the most important and key points where we need to make efforts for further improvement”, Shaildabekova said.
She also emphasized the role of UNDP, which since 2014, in cooperation with partners, has been one of the first to support the launch of a fundamental reform of Kyrgyzstan's electoral system.
The support from Germany will enable UNDP together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to help voters abroad register through mobile voter registration teams to inform migrants on their voting rights and register them for elections. Another important element will be the support to campaign finance disclosure - an essential public accountability mechanism – through the development of an electronic platform on campaign finance reporting and outreach to young people, to prevent corruption and vote-buying and promoting the value of secrecy of voting as a foundation of electoral integrity.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Iwersen highlighted the importance of further support of the CEC that has already proved its effective management of the electoral process in previous election cycles.
“The Government of Germany appreciates the aspiration of the Kyrgyz Republic to further democratic development and improvement of the election process. Enabling all citizens, including migrants, to vote, transparency in campaign financing and compliance with electoral legislation are important components of ensuring the integrity of the electoral process”, said Iwersen.
All these activities will contribute to the free, fair, inclusive, and transparent local and parliamentary elections in 2020-2021 with sustained use of the biometrics-based voter identification model.
For her part, UNDP, Ms. Chamberlain, emphasized: “I commend the Central Election Commission for its role in improving the electoral norms and for its strong operational planning and advance preparations, especially in the context of the restrictions placed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We greatly appreciate the Federal Republic of Germany for this vote of confidence in the electoral system in Kyrgyzstan. We are honored that you have placed your trust in UNDP as your partner and look forward to joining hands in support of free, fair, peaceful, competitive and inclusive elections in Kyrgyzstan”.
It is expected that Kyrgyz citizens, including vulnerable groups, women, youth, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and migrants will enhance their electoral rights as a result of the programme. The transparency and inclusiveness of the electoral process will be improved through the enhanced electoral operations, increased transparency of campaign finances and improved security and integrity of the electoral process.
Photos from the signing ceremony are available here.
Chyntemir Kalbaev, UNDP Communications Assistant