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Kazakh pres vetoes CC resolution banning Zhanaozen elections

January 10, 2012, 10:28 UTC+3

Nazarbayev has vetoed a resolution of the Kazakh Constitutional Council on the impossibility of holding elections in the city of Zhanaozen

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ASTANA, January 10 (Itar-Tass) —— President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan has vetoed a resolution of the Kazakh Constitutional Council on the impossibility of holding elections in the city of Zhanaozen, Mangistau Region, in the western part of the country, where massive unrest took place on December 16, 2011, after which a state of emergency was imposed on it by a presidential decree for a period ending on January 31, the press service of the Kazakh President reported on Tuesday.

“The President objected on January 10 to Additional Resolution of the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 1, dated January 6, which says that it is impossible to hold elections of deputies to the majlis (lower chamber of parliament) and to maslikhats (local representative bodies) on the territory of the city of Zhanaozen, Mangistau Region,” said the report of the press service.

President Nazarbayev believes that the ban on holding elections in the city of Zhanaozen, where massive unrest took place on December 16, on the day of the 20th anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan, which resulted in the loss of life, imposes restrictions on people’s rights and evokes their concern, the report continued.

The Constitutional Council adopted the resolution on January 6. According to Igor Rogov, head of the Constitutional Council, preparations for the elections to the majlis and the maslikhats coincided in time with the imposing of the state of emergency on Zhanaozen on December 17 and with its subsequent prolongation until the end of January. The resolution explained that ”the law on a state of emergency bans the holding of elections and republican referendums during the whole term of effect of the emergency situation in the area, on which it was imposed.”

“The state can and should both establish the procedure and terms of the exercise by people of their electoral right and ensure the full exercise of that right, together with other constitutional rights and freedoms, in conditions of their personal security, as well as openness and competitiveness of the elections,” Rogov said. He believes it is hardly probable to achieve in conditions of a state of emergency regime.

“Consequently,” he continued, “since it is impossible to ensure a free expression of people’s will and a full exercise of constitutional rights and freedoms in conditions of a state of emergency, as well as because of the ban on elections in such situations, clearly expressed in the law on an emergency situation, elections cannot be held in Zhanaozen.”

Later the Kazakh Central Electoral Commission ruled that residents of Zhanaozen would not take part in the parliamentary elections, and elections to maslikhats would be held in the city after the lifting of the state of emergency.

The presidential press service reports that “by objecting to the resolution of the Constitutional Council, the Kazakh President took into consideration the concern of Zhanaozen residents over the fact that the resolution curbs their electoral rights, recorded in the Constitution and the laws of the country.”

“The only purpose of the decision made by the President is to ensure for the residents of Zhanauzen an opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to elect and be elected to state bodies and local administrations,” the report stressed.

Sixteen people died in massive unrest in Zhanaozen, in which workers of oil companies, dismissed because of strikes, took part. Dozens of people were injured. Some 40 buildings were looted and burned. President Nazarbayev issued a decree on December 17, which imposed a state of emergency on Zhanaozen for the rest of December and the whole of January. At present curfew is in effect in the city. Restrictions were imposed on road traffic. Meetings are not allowed. The taking of photos and the making of films are restricted, along with the use of copying machines.

Early elections to the majlis and maslikhats are scheduled for January 15. An electoral campaign is going on in the country.

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