Elections are one of the oldest institutions of democracy, determining the form and methods of governing the state. Democracy can’t exist without elections. Nowadays, free and fair elections are the key factor in the process of democratization and one of the main means of expressing the will of the people all over the world.
In the Republic of Uzbekistan, the formation and development of a modern electoral system that meets democratic requirements has been gradual. In accordance with generally recognized principles and norms of international law a legislative framework has been formed that provides guarantees of free will of citizens and the right of every citizen to elect and be elected to representative bodies of state power.
The Election Code of Uzbekistan came into force on June 26, 2019. This legal document combines the laws that regulates the organization and conduct of presidential, parliamentary elections and elections to local representative bodies into one document, and represent important political significance of the elections in the country's public life.
The code consists of 18 chapters and 103 articles. The conceptual basis of the electoral system of the Republic of Uzbekistan is freedom of elections. The new election code is permeated by such fundamental principles as:
universality of suffrage (article 4) - Citizens have the equal suffrage regardless of their sex, race, nationality, language, religion, social origin, beliefs, personal and social status, education, type and nature of occupation.
equal suffrage (Article 5) - Every citizen participating in the election shall have one vote.
direct suffrage (Article 6) - The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, deputies of the Legislative Chamber, deputies of the local Kengashes shall be directly elected by citizens.
secret ballot (Article 7) - The secret ballot shall be ensured by creating appropriate conditions that exclude any possibility of control over the will of the voter.
openness and publicity of elections (Article 8) - preparation
Observers from the political parties which nominated the candidates for the Presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan, deputies of the Legislative Chamber, deputies of the local Kengashes, from citizens’ self-governing bodies, representatives of media, overseas observers and observers of the international organizations have the right to be present in all events associated with the preparation and conducting of elections, at voting premises on election day and at the counting of votes.
On December 22, 2019, the elections for deputies to the Legislative Chamber of the OliyMajlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan and for deputies to the local Kengashes of people's deputies will be held. It should be noted that, this event will be held for the first timein accordance with the new Election Code of Uzbekistan.
In this regard, I would like to highlight a number of important new additions in the electoral law. So, the institution of quotas for deputy seats for representatives of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan in the Legislative Chamber of the OliyMajlis is excluded. The participation of all 150 deputies of the Legislative Chamber in the popular elections has been fixed. Thereby a healthy inter-party competition has been created in the country with equal conditions for all political parties. And each political party can nominate its own candidate.
The Election Code also provides for the Single Electronic List of Votersof the Republic of Uzbekistan, which is a state information resource containing information about citizens who participates in the voting, addresses of their permanent and temporary residency. The main goal of the Single Electronic List of Voters is to implement the most important principle of equal suffrage, that expressed in the Code that every citizen participating in the elections has one vote.
The Election Code introduced a single ballot for voting on election day, including ahead of schedule, and accordingly the term “ballot paper” was abolished.
It should be noted that the Election Code has been developed taking into account the recommendations of the Office for Democratic Institutionsand human rights of the OSCE, the World Association of Electoral Authorities and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.Thus, the modernization of the electoral system and accordingly, the adoption of the Election Code is justified by the demand of the times.
New Election Code Helps Organize and streamlining the rules of national suffrage, increases the clarity and accessibility of the electoral law, creates a stable legal basis for the formation of independent election commissions with broad powers and modern technical equipment, as well as broadens the guarantees of electoral rights ensuring the free expression of the will of citizens.
Monitoring of the elections to the Legislative Chamber of the OliyMajlis (parliament) of Uzbekistan scheduled for December 22 this year will be conducted by more than 600 observers from about 50 states and international organizations, Mirzo-UlugbekAbdusalomov, chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic, told TASS on Monday.
“We expect that more than 600 foreign observers from about 50 states of America, Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as from all international organizations of the world whose activities are related to monitoring ofthe elections will conduct monitoring of the election campaign and election itself. For example, the OSCE / ODIHR plans to direct to upcoming elections the mission which includes nearly 300 observers from the Central Executive Committee of Russia and the CIS Parliamentary Assembly that they are ready to participate in the elections to the Legislative Chamber of the OliyMajlis. In addition, the arrival of the mission of the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, representatives of several independent civil society institutions from the United States is expected, "said Abdusalomov.
According to him, during the election campaign (that has begun) and directly on the votingday, there will not be closed any single polling station to foreign observers.