Central Commission for Elections and Referenda announced the results of November 6 presidential election in Tajikistan. Emomali Rakhmonov won a third seven-year term with 79.3 percent of the vote on a 91 percent turnout. Meanwhile, two main observation missions that monitored the vote OSCE and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) disagree on the assessment of the election. OSCE and CIS regularly send out observation missions to monitor votes in the former Soviet Union. Following a vote, both groups render verdicts on whether the vote did or did not meet international standards. In most cases, these two groups disagree…
Central Commission for Elections and Referenda announced the results of November 6 presidential election in Tajikistan. Emomali Rakhmonov won a third seven-year term with 79.3 percent of the vote on a 91 percent turnout. Meanwhile, two main observation missions that monitored the vote OSCE and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) disagree on the assessment of the election.
OSCE and CIS regularly send out observation missions to monitor votes in the former Soviet Union. Following a vote, both groups render verdicts on whether the vote did or did not meet international standards. In most cases, these two groups disagree with each other. Following the November 6 presidential election in Tajikistan, the two groups once again presented their incompatible judgments of the vote.
Kimmo Kiljunen, Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Delegation and Special Coordinator of the OSCE short-term observer mission stressed that democratic practices were not fully tested in the November 6 presidential election.
The lack of any serious campaign and credible alternatives undermined this election to a degree that it did not provide an adequate test of Tajikistans commitments for democratic elections, Kimmo Kiljunen said.
Onno van der Wind, Head of the long-term Observation Mission deployed by the OSCEs Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) announced that the election process fell short of democratic standards.
While this election marks some improvement on the 1999 presidential election, the framework was not adequate for genuine democratic elections, he said.
The OSCE/ODIHRs statement of preliminary findings and conclusions on the election cited widespread family voting, multiple voting, and identical signatures on voter lists. Besides, OSCE suggested that voting and counting procedures were often not followed.
OSCEs statement also stressed that the governments control of the media and the lack of analytical reporting on the election calls into question the ability of voters to make informed choices.
OSCEs findings repeat those of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In its latest statement, CPJ suggested that repression of opposition and independent news media has compromised the fairness of presidential election in Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, OSCEs counterparts from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) offered a much more positive view of the election. CISs short-term observation team in Tajikistan included some 240 observers, almost twice more than OSCE.
CIS Executive Secretary and the Head of CIS observers Vladimir Rushailo said in Dushanbe on November 7 that the poll was free, open and transparent and on line with the election code.
Some irregularities and shortcomings in the election process were technical and not massive. They had no serious impact on voting and election results, Rushailo said.
OSCEs positive assessment of the vote was further supported by observers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Ukraine-based non-governmental organization For Fair Elections.
SCO observers simply repeated CISc statement on the election and suggested that it was held in line with Tajikistans national law and international commitments.
NGO For Fair Election stressed that the campaign and results of the vote provided a genuine picture of the choice of the population and of the balance of power in Tajikistan.
On the election day and during the counting of votes, our Mission did not notice any violations that could affect the outcome of the election, Sergey Mirzoev, head of the organization said.
Mark Baker from the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on April 12, 2005, suggested that CIS observers have rarely challenged election results in the former Soviet Union and their findings are usually just the opposite of what OSCE observers report. He accuses CIS observation teams of being a propaganda tool for Moscow. At the same time, he maintains that their counterparts from the OSCE may occasionally be out of touch with the countries they monitor.
In Tajikistans previous elections, the CISs conclusions also clashed with the views of OSCEs electoral observers. After the February 2005 parliamentary election, deputy chairman of the Social-Democratic Party of Tajikistan Shokirjon Khakimov suggested that the observers from CIS were deployed in the country with the goal of building an image of legitimate election rather than actually monitoring the vote.
Meanwhile, my interviews with several people, who were in the CISs team of about 240 electoral observers on November 6, showed that CISs positive assessment of the election process does not necessarily reflect the findings of its observers.
A CIS observer who asked not to be named said their group had registered numerous cases of ballot stuffing, multiple voting and voting without proper identification. Besides, she told that in one of Dushanbes voting stations a drunken head of the precinct electoral committee violently pushed them out of the voting station after they had called his attention to multiple voting.
We then called to the central office [of CIS observers team in Dushanbe] and reported on the incident, she said. Two persons arrived to the voting station afterwards. They had a short conversation with the head of the precinct electoral committee and then suggested that we continue with other voting stations. We were not even offered apologies. And this incident was not even mentioned by Rushailo.
Tajikistans political parties also have different opinions on the fairness of the vote. Immediately after the results of the election were announced, Emomali Rakhmonovs contenders endorsed the outcome of the vote. Meanwhile, Democratic Party and Social-Democratic Party that boycotted the election announced its results illegitimate. The countrys strongest opposition party, the Islamic Revival Party, that also chose not to field a candidate in the election refrained from commenting on its outcome.Share