On 14 November, the Republican Press Center for covering the elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan hosted a roundtable discussion to address the guarantees of electoral rights of citizens. The event was organized by the Central Election Commission of the country together with the Tashkent branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University.
The occasion was attended by representatives of the CEC, the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, the faculty and students of the Tashkent branch of MSU, experts and journalists.
It was noted during the event that in independence years, our country has established a national electoral system that meets the highest democratic requirements. The right of citizens to participate in government and governance, both directly and through their representatives, is ensured at the fullest. This right is exercised through the participation of citizens in elections. In this regard, at the roundtable discussion special attention was paid to the realization of citizens’ electoral rights enshrined in the Constitution and other normative acts.
Important in this context is the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Guarantees of Electoral Rights of Citizens, in accordance with which voting rights are under reliable protection of the state. Regardless of their origin, social and property status, race or ethnicity, gender, education, language, attitude to religion, type and nature of occupation, the citizens are entitled equal suffrage.
Participants of the meeting stated that citizens who have reached 18 years of age have the right to vote. A citizen of Uzbekistan not younger than 35 years old, fluent in the state language and has been resident in the country for at least ten years before the elections has the right to be elected President of the Republic.
It was noted that citizens have the right to freedom of expression and the secrecy of ballot. To this end, the precinct election commissions, while organizing the voting process in the specially allocated rooms, provide citizens with the opportunity of free and secret expression. In the meantime, control over the will of the voters is forbidden.
Every citizen of Uzbekistan is guaranteed judicial protection of his/her voting rights, the possibility to appeal on any unlawful action of election commissions, government bodies, officials and public associations. The law does not allow for direct or indirect restriction of citizens’ electoral rights. Obstruction to the exercise of citizens’ right to elect and be elected shall entail liability in accordance with legislation.
The entire electoral season is built on wide publicity. Each voter has the right during the electoral process to seek, receive and disseminate information concerning the formation of electoral districts and polling stations, composition of election commissions, the location and time of the commissions’ operation, the results of registration of candidates, voting and elections.
Decisions of election commissions on the formation of electoral districts and polling stations, composition of election commissions, as well as on the results of candidate registration, voting and elections are published in the press.
It needs to be reminded that for the covering the current electoral process the Central and district electoral commissions have accredited to date 1,210 national and foreign journalists, the Republican Press Center and press centers of district commissions have held 92 press conferences and briefings on important stages of the election season. Since the start of the process from September 9, the national and international media to date have published more than 11 thousand articles and reports, including more than 4,600 information pieces in the print media, about 4,600 news items broadcast on television and radio outlets, and over 2,200 articles and analytical notes posted in online publications.
Worth noting that the a public opinion poll conducted by the Ijtimoiy Fikr center in October 2016 demonstrated that the vast majority of Uzbekistan’s citizens (95%) entitled the right to vote, are sure to take part in the presidential ballot scheduled for 4 December. 99.4% of respondents daid they monitor all events related to the election season. The vast majority of the population underscore the level of their awareness of the forthcoming elections, while the majority (60.6%) stated that they possess information about the election campaign for the post of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and sufficiently aware of their rights relating to participation in the vote.
The roundtable discussion has served for free exchange of views, owing to which the event participants received detailed answers to their questions.