EU sees strengthening of democracy, rule of law in Kyrgyzstan as key areas of cooperation
BISHKEK. Oct 17 (Interfax) - The competitive presidential elections held in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday confirm the country's commitment to democracy and political reform, the EU delegation to Kyrgyzstan said in a statement obtained by Interfax on Tuesday.
"The active participation of Kyrgyz citizens in a peaceful, orderly and competitive election of the future President of the country confirms the commitment to democracy and political reform. Over recent years, the country's authorities have invested in improving the electoral process and in increasing the transparency of elections, with the support of international donors including the European Union," the statement says.
The International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) preliminarily concluded that the election had "contributed to the strengthening of democratic institutions by providing for an orderly transfer of power from one elected President to another," it said.
"The elections were competitive and well administered. The IEOM identified nevertheless shortcomings such as vote buying, pressure on voters, restrictions on media freedom and the use of administrative resources. The authorities should effectively address forthcoming recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and the European Union stands ready to assist in this process," it said.
"The European Union looks forward to further developing its long-standing partnership with the Kyrgyz Republic, including through a new bilateral agreement, with strengthening democracy and rule of law and increasing economic prosperity as key priorities," it said.
Kyrgyzstan held presidential elections on October 15. According to preliminary results, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a candidate from the pro-presidential Social-Democratic party, won with 54.81% of the vote. Voter turnout was 55.93%.
A total of 11 candidates ran.