THE CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION
OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
briefing by Chairman of the CЕС of the Republic of Uzbekistan
For young voters
To a young voter
Come of age for each young person is a time when life principles are shaped; it is a time of irrepressible energy and thirst for accomplishments. Yet at the same time, it is a new phase of the life path, when it is essential to learn how to work, live, uphold one’s own views, but now without the “safety bag” of adults, carrying responsibility for one’s own actions!
Sure! But it is the only way a true personality can shape, an individual who does not shift his/her own troubles onto others, preferring to solve them on his/her own.
In addition, coming of age is that kind of age when a young person is granted the right to take part in the governance of society and state since, under the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a citizen of 18 attains the right to elect to representative bodies of government, that is, acquires an active electoral franchise. A little later, upon reaching the age of 21, suffrage is added by the right to be elected, i.e. a citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the age of twenty-one is entitled a passive electoral franchise.
Following are the excerpts from the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Elections to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Familiarize with them, think over; after all, the steadfast development of our society and state depends on what candidate for deputy You vote for.
Thus, Article 2 of the Law on Elections to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan stipulates on the right to elect, and that right is granted to citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan who reach the age of eighteen by the voting day.
Entitled to be elected to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan are the citizens who reach the age of twenty five years by the elections and permanently residing in the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan for at least five years.
Thus, when You are 18, Article 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, envisaging that citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan have the right to take part in governance both directly and through their representatives, enters into force for You. Such participation is carried out through self-government, conduct of referenda and the democratic formation of government bodies, as well as the development and perfection of public oversight of the activities of government bodies.
How to make use of this constitutional right?
To do this it is essential
- to know of those candidates for deputies or political parties who You are going to vote for, and of their election programs;
- to know the procedure of voting and
- to think seriously – now as an adult person – over what the path of Uzbekistan should be like, what sort of a country You would like to live in, and who – and as humanely as possible – is capable of doing so by their actions and efforts.
To be sure, by the passage of years You will garner the experience of making such decisions, yet to meet this challenge for the first time You will need to prepare a little. Because that should be a choice of Your own, a choice for which You bear a civic responsibility and for consequences of which there will be no one to be blamed.
Elections are the core element of democratic forms of government. The right of citizens for participation in shaping the government institutions is a universally acknowledged constituent of the contemporary society.
Participation in elections is not merely the vital constitutional right, but it is also an occasion that requires political responsibility from its participants for their actions.
In its turn, the responsibility for political decisions taken shapes the political and law culture of the elected and the electorate.
And now let’s discuss how citizens of a country influence the government through the means of elections. Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan stipulates that the most critical issues in society and government are submitted to the discussion of the nation, put on the nationwide vote (referendum). The constitutional right to elect and be elected is fixed by provisions of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Guarantees of Electoral Suffrage of Citizens.
Let’s now turn to the nature of democratic elections that, in accordance with the Constitution of Uzbekistan, are held on the basis of universal, equal and direct franchise with secret ballot.
The principle of universal suffrage guarantees the citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan the right to elect and be elected upon reaching the age established by the law.
Those citizens assigned by the court as legally incapable as well as those persons held in prisons under the verdict of the court are not eligible to be elected and to take part in elections.
In any other cases, direct or indirect restriction of the suffrage of citizens is inadmissible.
The name of each voter eligible for active electoral right is included in the list of voters (electoral roll) of a polling station.
There is an opportunity to vote earlier if You cannot cast ballot on the election day at Your polling station.
The principle of equal suffrage means that citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan, irrespective of gender, racial and ethnic descent, language, attitude to religion, social origin, beliefs, personal and social status, education, type and nature of occupation, have equal electoral right.
The principle of direct suffrage implies that a hundred and thirty five deputies of the Legislative Chamber are elected by citizens straightforwardly.
The principle of secret ballot guarantees that voting is free and secret. Control of the expression of will of the voters is precluded.
Polling booths for secret ballot are installed in every polling station.
Nobody has the right to influence Your choice.
You have no right to pass Your ballot sheet and ballot paper on to anyone else to vote.
Let’s discuss other characteristics of democratic elections.
Elected representatives of people occupy elected posts during a period of time stipulated in the law, and in a certain span of time electoral commissions of all levels (from the central to the precinct ones) arrange for new election campaign.
Think over how often the deputies and senators of the parliament are elected. Why is it arranged this way?
The outcome of election rivalry for power is defined by the results of voting. That is the reason why the procedure of casting ballot is attached high requirements. For instance:
- polling booths should be equipped in a way to ensure secret ballot;
- ballot sheets are handed when one produces passport, so that every person votes once and on behalf of oneself alone;
- ballot box is sealed;
- voting results are fixed in the report of the electoral commission;
- workings of the electoral commission are overseen by observers.
The period of election campaigning
It is noteworthy that the legislation stipulates that the election campaign can take the form of dissemination of information about the program and/or election platform of the political party with an appeal to vote for its nominees for deputies, as well as in the form of information about a candidate for deputies with a call to cast ballot for him/her.
Election campaign can take the form of public debates, discussions, press conferences, interviews, speeches and addresses, meetings of voters, videos about the candidate for deputies and the political party.
As far as methods of election campaign are concerned, it can be conducted through mass media, information-telecommunications networks of public access (including the internet), through the means of publication and dissemination of print, visual, audiovisual and other campaigning materials (banners, leaflets and other materials), as well as through meetings with the electorate.
Candidates for deputies and political parties can make use of other types, forms and methods of election campaigning not prohibited by the law.
In the meantime, the normative acts regulating the forms and methods of election campaign suggest that the information disseminated in mass media should reflect the reality, not violate the rights and legitimate interests of candidates for deputies and political parties. Spread of false data and information discrediting the honor and dignity of candidates is forbidden.
Political parties are offered equal opportunities for unimpeded production and distribution of print, visual, audiovisual materials, sound records, electronic versions of print products and other campaigning materials.
During an election campaign, a candidate strives to attract attention to himself/herself by addressing on the radio, television, in the press with outlining his/her election platform that contains views of the candidate and the electorate on the current state of affairs in the society, on the way of changing the situation for the better, by placing emphases on real dimensions of activities. However, the volume of airtime and space in print editions granted to a candidate is strictly regulated in order to secure the equality of candidates for deputies.
The procedure of voting at polling stations is scrutinized by observers. A political party that has nominated candidates for deputies of the Legislative Chamber from among its members is entitled to appoint an authorized representative for the participation in counting votes at the polling station in an order defined by the Central Election Commission. Authorized representatives of political parties oversee the fact how the electoral commission, after the end of ballot, counts votes at the polling station and discharges unused ballot sheets and ballot papers. Following the vote counting, a report is drawn with the indication of all figures (numbers) in the results of voting.
The law allows also for the presence of international observers representing foreign nations and international institutions endowed with the right to conduct oversight of the preparations and holding of elections in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The principal role in the process of preparations and holding of elections is played by electoral commissions of all levels.
The Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan is established by the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the organization and holding of elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as the referendum of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Central Election Commission is expected by its activities to facilitate the realization of democratic principles of the electoral system and provide for the opportunity of free expression of will by the electorate.
The status of the Central Election Commission is defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Under the Basic Law, the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan carries out its activities on a constant basis and is guided in its actions by the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, laws on elections and referenda of the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as other normative acts.
Basic principles in the activities of CEC are independence, legitimacy, collective nature, publicity and fairness.
Members of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan are elected by the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the recommendation of Jokargy Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regional and Tashkent City Kengashes of people’s representatives.
Chairperson of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan is elected from among its members upon nomination by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan during a meeting of the commission.
Within its powers, the Commission is independent from government bodies and officials, facilitating the impartiality of her decisions on issues related to elections.
The Central Election Commission thus:
(1) oversees the execution of the Law and ensures its uniform application across the entire territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan; within its powers it issues instructions and offers interpretation on matters pertinent to the organization of elections;
(2) establishes electoral districts and assigns them titles and numbers;
(3) establishes district electoral commissions and publishes data on their location;
(4) directs the operation of electoral commissions, defines the order of introduction of amendments into their membership, can independently or upon recommendation of Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan cancel the decisions of district electoral commissions in cases these decisions contradict the Law;
(5) addresses issues regarding the registration – to an electoral district – of polling stations being established beyond the borders of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
(6) adopts corresponding documents from political parties nominating their candidates for deputies;
(7) registers candidates for deputies;
(8) ensures equal opportunities for candidates for deputies for the participation in the election campaign;
(9) distributes funds among electoral commissions, oversees the provision of electoral commissions with rooms, vehicles and means of communication, considers other issues relating to the material-technical provision of elections;
(10) sets samples and forms of ballot sheets and ballot papers for elections of deputies to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, electoral rolls, subscription lists, reports of electoral commissions, other electoral documents, samples of ballot boxes and seals of electoral commissions, the order of storage of electoral documents;
(11) hears reports from political parties, ministries, state committees and other government agencies, local government bodies, other government bodies and public organizations on issues pertinent to the preparations and conduct of elections;
(12) sums up results of elections in general for the Republic of Uzbekistan, registers the deputies-elect, publishes reports in the press on the outcomes of elections and lists of deputies-elect of the Legislative Chamber;
(13) issues identification cards and badges of the Deputy of the Legislative Chamber for deputies-elect;
(14) considers appeals and complaints to the decisions and actions of electoral commissions and adopts decisions on them;
(15) passes the materials on violations of the Law – entailing criminal liability – on to prosecuting bodies;
(16) ensures the passage of documentation related to the conduct and organization of elections, on to archives;
(17) exercises other powers in accordance with the legislation.
District electoral commissions are established by the Central Election Commission no later than seventy days ahead of elections, comprising a chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary and at least six other members. The person-by-person composition of a district electoral commission is approved with a resolution of the Central Election Commission.
District electoral commission thus:
(1) oversees the execution of the Law in the territory of the electoral district;
(2) establishes polling stations, fixes their numeration according to electoral district, publishes their list with an indication of their addresses;
(3) coordinates the activities of precinct electoral commissions;
(4) distributes funds among precinct electoral commissions, oversees the provision of precinct electoral commissions with rooms, vehicles, means of communication, and considers other issues relating to the material-technical provision of elections in the electoral district;
(5) ensures equal opportunities for candidates for deputies for the participation in the election campaign;
(6) publishes data on the candidates for deputies registered by the Central Election Commission and issues respective identification cards for them;
(7) assists the organization of meetings of candidates for deputies with voters;
(8) registers authorized representatives of candidates for deputies and issues respective identification cards for them;
(9) hears reports from representatives of political parties, local government bodies, other government bodies and public organizations, heads of enterprises, institutions and organizations on issues pertinent to the preparations and conduct of elections;
(10) observes the formation of electoral rolls and their presentation for general familiarization;
(11) approves the text of ballot sheet and ballot paper on electoral district, in accordance with the sample approved by the Central Election Commission, ensures the production of sheets and papers and the supply of precinct electoral commissions with them;
(12) establishes and passes the results of elections within the electoral district on to the Central Election Commission;
(13) arranges for the organization of repeated vote and repeated elections, as well as the elections of a deputy to replace the quitting one;
(14) considers appeals and complaints to the decisions and actions of precinct electoral commissions and adopts decisions on them;
(15) exercises other powers in accordance with the legislation.
Precinct electoral commissions are established by district electoral commissions. The precinct electoral commission is formed no later than forty days ahead of the elections in the composition of five to nineteen members, including a chairperson, a deputy chairperson and a secretary. In the case the commission is composed by up to seven people, it will have a chairperson and a secretary elected. The person-by-person composition of the precinct electoral commission is approved with a decision of the district electoral commission. When needed, the numerical composition of the precinct electoral commission can be increased or decreased.
The precinct electoral commission thus:
(1) makes up electoral rolls in the electoral precinct;
(2) organizes introduction of voters to electoral roll, receives and considers appeals on errors and inaccuracies in the roll and decides on the introduction of respective amendments to it;
(3) receives electoral envelopes from voters not able to be present in their premise of residence on the election day and take part in the vote;
(4) informs the population on the election day and place of vote;
(5) ensures the preparation of the room for vote, of ballot boxes and other electoral equipment;
(6) arranges for vote at the polling station on the election day;
(7) counts the ballots cast at the polling station;
(8) considers appeals and complaints on issues relating to the preparation of elections, the organization of vote and takes decisions on them;
(9) exercises other powers in accordance with the legislation.
The common ground uniting these commissions is independence, legitimacy, collective nature, publicity and fairness in all actions!
Members of electoral commissions cannot be members of political parties.
We hope the information presented here will be of use for You.
Thanks for attention!