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Summary: 21 January 2011, Brussels - Declaration by the High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on Kazakhstan
The EU has noted with serious concern that the Parliament of Kazakhstan decided, on January 14, to adopt constitutional amendments opening the way to extending, through a national referendum, the term in office of Pres. Nazarbayev for another eight years.
The EU takes the view that replacing the normal presidential electoral contests due in 2012 and 2017 with a plebiscite on a single presidential candidate would not be consistent with OSCE principles, reaffirmed in the recent Astana Commemorative Declaration, and would cast serious doubts on Kazakhstan’s commitment to promote democracy and political pluralism.
The EU expects that an important EU partner and OSCE member such as Kazakhstan will abide by accepted international norms on democracy, according to which the political leadership should be either confirmed or replaced through regular fair and free elections, with all eligible citizens having equal opportunities to stand for office and being free to challenge the policies of the incumbent administration.
The EU confirms its serious reservations on this initiative as already expressed in the EU statements to the OSCE Permanent Council’s meeting of January 13 and January 20. The EU strongly urges President Nazarbayev and the Kazakh national authorities to ensure that free and fair elections will take place according to the current Constitution and international commitments.