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NEWS AND EVENTS
December 27, 2004
HALF OF OLIY MAJLIS DEPUTIES ELECTED ? CEC CHAIRMAN
People of Uzbekistan participated in the country?s first ever elections to bicameral parliament on Sunday.

489 of 517 registered contenders competed for 120 seats in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis.

According to preliminary results announced by Buritosh Mustafoyev, chairman of the Central Election Commission, on Monday evening, 60 deputies were elected, with the remaining 60 having gathered fewer votes than required.

Mustafoyev emphasized that although all ballots were processed, the data was preliminary and the final results would be announced within 10 days, as set by the law, after recounting.

113 (of 119 registered) candidates represented Liberal-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan and 106 (118) People?s Democratic Party. 85 (89) candidates participated in the elections from Fidokorlar national democratic party, 59 (61) from Milliy Tiklanish democratic party and 69 (72) from Adolat social-democratic party. Initiative groups of voters ran 57 of 58 registered contenders.

VOTERS? TURNOUT EXCEEDS 85%

Some 12.19 million people or 85.1% of 14.32 million registered voters cast their ballots at the elections.

In Tashkent city, voters? turnout was registered at 81%. In other regions of the country, the figures also exceeded the 80% point: Karakalpakstan - 85.2%, Kashkadarya region - 86.5%, Bukhara region - 86.4%, Andijan region - 87.8%, Samarkand region - 84.7%, Navoi region - 80.5%, Namangan region - 88.3%, Ferghana region - 87.4%, Tashkent region - 82.3%, Surkhandarya region - 81.7%, Syrdarya region - 86.7%, Khorezm region - 84.9% and Jizzakh region - 88,6%.

The Central Election Commission organized 8,088 polling stations, including 8,048 in Uzbekistan and 40 in the country?s embassies abroad.

Sherzod Kudratkhodjayev, Central Election Commission?s spokesman, told journalists on Monday: ?The elections were held in an open and just way, in compliance with the law. At this stage, we have had no complaints of any violations of voting procedures.\"

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov said: ?Creation of bicameral parliament in Uzbekistan is a new step to democratic development of society in the country.? This opinion was expressed by many foreign observers, he said.

ELECTIONS WERE FREE ? CIS OBSERVERS

Elections to Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan were legitimate, free and transparent, head of CIS mission to Uzbekistan and chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Vladimir Rushaylo said.

?International observers from the Commonwealth of Independent State believe that elections to Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, held on 26 December 2004, were carried out by the Central Election Commission and election commissions in accordance with norms of election legislation of Uzbekistan, and therefore recognize them as legitimate, free and transparent,? he noted.

CIS observers made their preliminary conclusions based on own monitoring, analysis of factual materials and information collected at elections commissions and ballot stations, as well as during dialogues with international and local observers.

Rushaylo said CIS observers had noted insignificant shortcomings during preparation to elections and the voting process. But the observers said those were mainly ?technical? shortcomings, which were eliminated during observation and did not affect the free will of voters and the final result.

ELECTIONS SHOULD BE IMPROVED

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) conducted a Limited Election Observation Mission (LEOM) in Uzbekistan for the parliamentary elections. Although minor improvements since the 1999 elections were identified, the mission concluded that the elections fell short of OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections.

\"Regrettably, the implementation of the election legislation by the authorities failed to ensure a pluralistic, competitive and transparent election,\" Ambassador Lubomir Kopaj, head of the OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission, said.

He identified some improvements since the 1999 legislative elections, such as a 30% quota for female party candidates and new financial regulations to support the political parties. Also, positive voting for candidates on the ballot paper was introduced, although at a very late stage.

\"However, major improvements to the process are required, and a commensurate level of political will for implementation. Fundamental principles for a meaningful democratic election process, such as freedom of expression, association and assembly, must be respected in future elections,\" Kopaj added.

Although candidates from five registered political parties and 55 candidates from initiative groups participated in the elections, the similarity of the political platforms of the registered political parties appeared to deprive voters of a genuine choice, the head of the mission said.

GRATITUDE TO OBSERVERS

Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan expressed deep gratitude to international organizations and representatives of foreign countries for active participation in the process of elections to the new parliament, an Uzbek official said on Monday.

Vladimir Norov, First Deputy Foreign Minister, said: ?We are grateful for wishes and remarks expressed during the election campaign. All of them will be surely taken into consideration in improvement of the legislative system in Uzbekistan.?

Wide participation of international and local observers is another factor of transparency of the election process, Norov told RIA Novosti.

Overall, some 30,000 local and international observers from 35 countries, including the CIS, as well as the European Parliament, OSCE and other international organizations participated in monitoring Sunday elections, deputy foreign minister said.


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