Advancement of electoral law – essential condition for further democratization of state

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December 2, 2015

Advancement of electoral law – essential condition for further democratization of state

Tashkent hosted an international round table on topic “Democratization of electoral system and legislation: Uzbekistan and foreign countries’ experience”.

The event was organized by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, the Institute for Monitoring of Current Legislation under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the country, the Independent Institute for Monitoring of Formation of Civil Society, the World Association of Electoral Bodies, OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan.

The purpose of the round table was to discuss the development of the national electoral legislation, experience of foreign countries, to familiarize the international community with taken measures to reform the electoral system in Uzbekistan.

Members of the Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan and territorial election commissions, senators and deputies, representatives of political parties and the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, ministries and departments, NGOs, experts of the World Association of electoral bodies, OSCE, scientists and experts in the field of electoral law from France, the Republic of Korea, Latvia and media representatives attended the forum.

During the event, the participants noted that over the years of independence the national democratic electoral system, which meets the highest requirements, has been created through consistent and onward modernization of political, state and legal system. On its basis the right of citizens to participate in managing the affairs of society and the state is fully realized. At the same time legislative basis of the democratic principles of the election, formed on the basis of universally recognized international norms and principles is of great importance.

The basis of the national model of statehood in Uzbekistan is based on the principles freedom of choice and expression of the citizens, especially the constitutional right of everyone to vote and be elected to state authorities. Reforms in the electoral field possesses a systematic, coherent and interrelated character, they are aimed at ensuring freedom of choice and the development of national legislation on elections.

2014 year’s election to the Oliy Majlis, regional, district and city councils of people’s deputies, and 2015 year’s election of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is the confirmation of the effectiveness of deep reforms in this area. Their results were an important milestone in the formation of public authorities, strengthening the foundations of democracy, the future development of the country along the path of building a law-governed state and strong civil society.

The Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country, launched by President Islam Karimov, marked a new stage in the development sphere of the state and public administration, the legal system. Amendments in electoral laws help to strengthen the principles of openness and transparency of the electoral process, the development of existing mechanisms of citizens’ free will.

This essential feature of the national electoral system is functioning of independent election commissions which ensure the organization and conduct the elections on the basis of openness and transparency, in full compliance with the requirements of the law. It was also noted the role of self-government and other institutions of civil society to ensure democratic elections.

Giving the Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan status of the constitutional body, which has a special place in the government and provides practical preparation and holding of elections without any interference from other government bodies, was another important guarantee comprehensive support of democracy, openness and transparency of the elections.

Democratic system of formation of the Central Election Commission, the main principles of its activities enshrined as a constitutional norm. In accordance with the changes in the Budget Code provided its financial independence. Due to the expansion of the powers and strengthening of its status, the CEC acquired the opportunity to more effectively and closely cooperate with national and international partners. Today, the CEC of Uzbekistan is a full member of the World Association of electoral bodies. The organization established cooperation with the electoral commissions of the CIS countries, Europe, Asia, as well as UNDP, OSCE, SCO.

During the meeting the sides exchanged views on various aspects of the electoral system and the law on elections, including topical issues of law enforcement, campaign financing, responsibility of the participants of the electoral process, inter-party competition.

According to participants, the development of political pluralism and a multiparty system, increasing the role of political parties in the system of representative democracy are the results of the democratic reforms in Uzbekistan. The experience gained, particularly in the last election, study and analysis of international practices bring to agenda the issue of development and adoption of the Electoral Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which is aimed at harmonizing the legal provisions of the national legislation on elections.

Experts also note the importance of the development and implementation of electoral processes in information and communication technologies. Today, ICT forms not only the technological environment for the modernization of public administration, but also contributes to the democratization and liberalization of society. In this regard, during the round table issues of foreign law enforcement operation of a single electronic register of voters and the establishment of the legal basis for the formation and use of a single electronic list of citizens. It can contribute to further strengthening the guarantees of electoral rights of citizens, further ensuring the principles of openness and transparency of the electoral process.

Round table was held in an open and constructive dialogue, with lively discussion, which resulted in the adoption of recommendations for further democratization of the electoral legislation and practice. The participants agreed that in view of the tasks outlined in the Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country, consistently implemented reforms in Uzbekistan, including in the sphere of freedom of choice and the development of the electoral legislation aimed at strengthening the guaranteed constitutional rights of citizens to elect and be elected to state authorities.

Some of the participants expressed their views and assessments on discussed issues in interview with Jahon Information Agency.

Gyorgy Szabo, OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan:

– Uzbekistan has consistently improving its electoral legislation in accordance with international standards and national characteristics. In this process, fruitful international cooperation is carried out with the OSCE and its institutions. In particular with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which is attends in monitoring elections in the country and provides its findings and recommendations. Representatives of the OSCE / ODIHR also participated in today’s round table in order to further assist in improving your electoral system and legislation in Uzbekistan.

Through the OSCE Project Coordinator program line, concrete projects in this direction are carried out in the country. In particular, now the CEC delegation of Uzbekistan is in the UK and Denmark to study the experience of creation of unified electronic voter register. This “electronic register” – an important condition for the conduct of open and democratic elections, high level of their conduct. As in our time of science and technology necessary to use all the possibilities of information and communication technologies, especially as there is greater mobility of society, that is, people are dynamic, go around the country and the world, and email list will provide an opportunity to ensure compliance with the principle of “one person – one vote”.

Despite the fact that the elections were held recently, now is the time to start preparing for the next elections. We are ready for further cooperation in this area and it is important that the meetings are held, such as this, where you can discuss topical issues of the institutional foundations of the electoral processes and organizational aspects.

Arnis Tsimdars, chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Latvia:

– The exchange of experience in the field of election legislation is very important. Studying the good practices of developed countries can take into account national peculiarities of the most appropriate solutions. I am happy to share with counterparts from the Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan on how we have introduced electronic register of voters in Latvia. I hope that it will be useful for Uzbekistan. I am also planning to share information about the risks faced by the Latvia that, I think, will help Uzbekistan to avoid such situations.

Kim Jung Tak, manager on development of information and communication technologies of the World Organization of Information Bodies:

– I am pleased to participate in today’s round table. Organization of such events is very useful for improvement of open and fair electoral system in Uzbekistan, because they contribute to the further optimization of the election process and the holding of fair and transparent elections.

Codification of the election legislation, i.e. adoption of a single electoral code – an important factor in the conduct of democratic elections in any country. Therefore, since these recommendations were made here, I think it is necessary to examine comprehensively the need for such action.

Raken George, honorary vice-president of the Chamber of Accounts of Toulouse (France):

– Today’s meeting is of great practical significance, since it brought together international and local experts in the field of elections, as well as representatives of the OSCE. I appreciate the level of organization of round table, as well as interesting presentations and discussions. I can say that the Republic of Uzbekistan is the highest threshold of democracy.

I would like to say that in this country, unlike France there are no problems with voter turnout. The electorate is very active while using their constitutional right to participate and thus in the democratic governance of the country.

I think that the electoral law of your country is very fully covering the entire range of issues that govern the electoral process, and open to all political parties, that is, take into account their interests. I was impressed by the faith of the Uzbek people in their own parliament, and I think it is a vivid expression of social progress. In my country, unfortunately, we can not observe it.

I am also impressed by the level of women’s participation in political life, in particular their representation in the national parliament, which can also serve as a good example for France.