Please provide a brief summary of the initiative including the problems/challenges it addressed and the solutions that the initiative introduced (300 words maximum)
Since its independence the people of the Kyrgyz Republic could observe that the attempts of blatant interference in the electoral process could lead, and especially while summarizing its results, achieving the desired result through falsification and fraud. The revolutions of 2005 and 2010 both were caused by unfair parliamentary and presidential elections which undermined voters' confidence in the elections, in the electoral system itself, and eventually in the state. Life demanded the need to reform and implement a new electoral model.
Starting from 2015, an important component of the Kyrgyz Republic's orientation in its development on the principles of democracy and the rule of law is the reform of the electoral system. The whole package of reforms was carried out in accordance with the decision of the National Sustainable Development Council of the Kyrgyz Republic «Fair elections - a guarantee of sustainable development of the country» on April 25, 2014.
For the first time in its history the Central Electoral Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic (CEC) introduced a new electoral process model which provides the use of new technologies for counting the votes of voters - precinct count optical scanners (PCOS) - and data transmission through secure communication channels to the central server of the CEC. The innovation was achieved by using these new information communication technologies to support the democratic process in the Kyrgyz Republic.
a. What are the overall objectives of the initiative?
Please describe the overall objectives of the initiative (200 words maximum)
At the moment Kyrgyz Republic has a new electoral model. Its main components are the equality of all candidates and the record of the vote of each voter. Because exactly these cornerstones of the reform of the electoral system are the basis of citizens' confidence in elections and in the future sustainable development of the country.
There were two main tasks with the adoption of the new electoral model: the first task is to exclude corruption at the level of the electoral process management, the second is to ensure the rights of every citizen to elect and be elected. The past election campaigns showed that the CEC has chosen the right way to solve these tasks.
b. How does the initiative fit within the selected category?
Please describe how the initiative is linked to the criteria of the category (200 words maximum)
Ensuring free democratic elections is one of the goals of the National Sustainable Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2013 - 2017. The new electoral model has allowed to ensure its maximum transparency and purity, created conditions for democratic and open competition, so that the results of the elections would not cause any doubts either among the citizens of the country or the participants in the election campaign.
The initiative should improve people’s lives, notably by enhancing the contribution of public services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the SDGs
a. Please explain how the initiative improves the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
In these years of reforms, an automated votes’ counting system is implemented that ensures the credibility of the election results, and the transparency of the decision-making process in election commissions is enhanced. Identification of voters with the help of biometric registration using a new form of identification and precinct count optical scanner (PCOS) has allowed to achieve the maximum credibility in the counting of votes.
Following should be noted as important results of reforms:
- the adoption of a law that ensures protection of personal data
- reduction of the display of manual counting data along with PCOS data from 24 to 3-4 hours
- extension of the electoral actions’ length on voter lists
- technical measures for secrecy of voting have been strengthened
The initiative must impact positively a group or groups of the population (i.e. children, women, elderly, people with disability, etc) and address a significant issue of public service delivery within the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant issue related to the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
The information electoral system has allowed publicly and visually on the CEC website to cover the process of voting in real time on 2375 polling stations, and the results of the counting of votes in each station and for each candidate for deputies have been reflected almost instantaneously or for no more than 1 hour.
The training of the staff of the CEC office, members of the Territorial Elections Commissions (TEC) and Precinct Elections Commissions (PEC) ensured the effective functioning of new electoral technologies in the elections.
b. Please explain how the initiative has impacted positively a group or groups of the population within the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
At present, a system of reliable registration of each voter has been created in Kyrgyzstan, corruption risks in the sphere of the electoral process management have been virtually eliminated, voting procedures for various types of elections have been introduced and unified.
The initiative must present an innovative idea, a distinctively new approach, or a unique policy or approach implemented in order to realize the SDGs in the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain in which way the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
Information electoral system (IES) is designed to prepare and conduct as well as display information on the progress and outcome of elections and referenda.
IES consists of:
- PCOS for the receipt and reading of ballot papers in the precinct electoral commissions
- IES software which performs the functions of collecting, storing and providing information on elections
- secure communication channels for data transfer from PCOS to the central server in the CEC
- server equipment, a complex of equipment for the maintenance of the IES software and information security
PCOS consists of:
- optical scanner of reading the ballot paper
- ballot box
- section for non-valid ballot papers
- UPS and power cable
- built-in printer
The home page ess.shailoo.gov.kg contains a table with a list of past and designated election campaigns, through which you can view information.
b. Please describe if the innovation is original or if it is an adaptation from other contexts (If it is known)? (200 words maximum)
Before the beginning of voting, a printing of the report on the beginning of voting - the zero report - is produced. A zero report is issued to all observers and representatives of candidates.
From the moment of the beginning of voting to the end of the PCOS should not be connected to the modem; the number of voters taken from the PCOS screen is transferred to the precinct election commission on schedule.
After the completion of voting, before sending data to the central server of the CEC, a report on the completion of voting - the final report - is printed. The final report is issued to all observers and representatives of candidates.
Advantages of using PCOS:
- a monitoring tool for counting the results of voting (as a factor preventing the vote fraud)
- a tool for instantaneous data on voting results (as a factor of stability)
After the completion of voting, the data is sent to the central server of the CEC through secure communication channels.
c. What resources (i.e. financial, human , material or other resources, etc) were used to implement the initiative? (200 words maximum)
There was a strong political will to establish a new electoral system implemented by the ICT Department of the CEC. The initiative was developed together with international partners.
5816 PCOS were bought by several steps:
- 916 PCOS and server premise, server and network hardware were bought by the support of the KOICA (6.150.000 thousand USD) and Embassy of Switzerland (600.000 CHF) in 2015
- 2900 PCOS were bought by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (6.380.000 USD)
- By the Decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on August 4, 2016, the Ministry of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic was instructed to allocate 4.060.000 USD from the means of this EU grant to the CEC in order to buy 2000 PCOS.
25000 members of the electoral commissions around the country are engaged into the implementing of electoral process.
The initiative should be adaptable to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions). There may already be evidence that it has inspired similar innovations in other public-sector institutions within a given country, region or at the global level.
a. Has the initiative been transferred to other contexts?
The PCOS approbation took place during the parliamentary elections in 2015 and the elections of deputies of local parliaments (keneshes) and holding a referendum in 2016. It was also used during the presidential elections in 2017 and has been tested in all types of electoral process. This January it was implemented during the elections of deputies of local parliaments (keneshes).
The initiative should be able to be sustained over a significant period of time.
a. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable (covering the social, economic and environmental aspects) (300 words maximum)
On April 23, 2015, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic signed the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic providing for new procedures for citizens' participation in voting and a new system for counting votes at the level of elections of the head of state and deputies of the parliament.
With the adoption of the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on January 21, 2016, a new electoral model was introduced into the election process of deputies of local keneshes. On this basis, in spring and winter of 2016 elections were held for 444 local city and rural keneshes of the Kyrgyz Republic (33 in March-May and 411 in December).
On October 31, 2016, the Constitutional Law of the Kyrgyz Republic «On the Referendum of the Kyrgyz Republic» was signed. The most important component of the bill was the introduction of a new electoral model using biometric identification technologies for voters and automatic vote counting in the process of holding a referendum.
Unification of procedures at all levels of elections and referenda is important for voters and for the system of election commissions organizing referenda. Unified rules and procedures make the election and referendum process more clear and understandable and most importantly reliable for voters, clearer for the organizers of voting -
Unified rules and procedures also make it possible to combine voting of different types and their simultaneous conduct. The practice of holding voting on the same day, applied throughout the world, became possible in a new format in Kyrgyzstan. An important advantage of this practice is the savings of financial costs, temporary and human resources for conducting voting in the future.
b. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable in terms of durability in time (300 words maximum)
PCOS has been used during following elections and 1 referendum:
1) October, 2015 - elections for Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic (Parliament)
2) March, 2016 - Elections for Local Keneshes
3) May, 2016 - Elections for Local Keneshes
4) December, 2016 - Elections for Local Keneshes
5) December, 2016 - Referendum
6) January, 2017- Elections for Local Keneshes
7) May, 2017- Elections for Local Keneshes
8) September, 2017- Elections for Local Keneshes
9) October, 2017 - Elections for Presidential Elections
10) January, 2018 - Elections for Local Keneshes
The initiative should have gone through a formal evaluation, showing some evidence of impact on improving people’s lives.
a. Has the initiative been formally evaluated?
If yes, please describe how the initiative was evaluated? (200 words maximum)
The participation of international representatives in observing the preparation and conduct of elections is one of the important measures to ensure openness and transparency of elections.
In order to ensure transparency during the organization and conduct of the elections and compliance with international obligations on electoral standards, the Constitutional Law of the Kyrgyz Republic, observers from the candidates, political parties, public organizations and mass media are also provided by an opportunity to observe the progress of preparing and conducting elections.
For example, last evaluation was implemented by the representatives of 57 international organizations from 59 countries accredited as international observers during presidential elections in 2017 with a total of 773 international observers.
On October 15, 2017, on the day of the election of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, 18,823 observers also participated in the observation of the voting process, including 9599 public observers and 9224 observers from presidential candidates.
b. Please describe the outcome of the evaluation of the impact of the initiative (200 words maximum)
International observers of the Commonwealth of Independent States headed by the Chairman of itsExecutive Committee Mr. Lebedev have declared: «So far, no technical means for conducting elections have been introduced in any of the CIS republics so massively. This is moving forward». He also noted that the election of the President of Kyrgyzstan was conducted in accordance with the electoral legislation.
Rashid Alimov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization: «The election of the President of Kyrgyzstan met the requirements of the country's electoral legislation and international obligations. The elections were democratically open. It was important that work has been carried out on the delivery of PCOS to hard-to-reach high-mountain areas, mechanisms for the online transmission of voting data have been introduced. It was important to mobilize team of almost 25000 people in the election commissions. And you did it».
The delegation of the A-WEB noted that the observers were impressed by the advanced IT specialists and highly appreciated the introduction of the information electoral system's application. It was found that the live publication of data on appearance and results on the official page of the CEC was very important for establishing and maintaining voters' confidence in the new system.
c. Please describe the indicators that were used (200 words maximum)
- the right of a citizen to elect and be elected
- freedom of elections on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage in a secret ballot
- open and transparent nature of elections
- judicial and other protection of electoral rights and freedoms
- public and international observation of elections
- professionalism of the electoral commissions
The initiative must demonstrate that it has engaged various actors such as from other institutions, civil society, or the private sector, when possible.
a. The 2030 Development Agenda puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, coordination, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe what stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative. Please also highlight their roles and contributions (300 words maximum)
The decision of the National Sustainable Development Council of the Kyrgyz Republic of April 25, 2014 and the Constitutional Law of the Kyrgyz Republic «On Elections of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic and Deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) of the Kyrgyz Republic» were adopted. Therefore, Kyrgyz Republic has a strong political will to introduce a new electoral model.
A-WEB provided consultative support in establishing contacts with appropriate IT companies, providing technical advice, training of the staff.
KOICA, EU, Embassy of Switzerland and Government of the Kyrgyz Republic provided financial support.
a. Please describe the key lessons learned, and any view you have on how to further improve the initiative (200 words maximum)
Consistent and effective changes in the electoral process have led to that citizens observed true figures of participation and voting results of the population without falsification and the use of administrative resources as a result of the elections of 2015-2017. This was another step forward in enhancing stability in the country and recognizing the electoral process in Kyrgyzstan as successful and competitive by the international community.
CEC has to focus on targeted ensuring of electoral rights, raising the level of legal culture of the population and participants in the electoral process, improving the electoral legislation, increasing the competence of election commissions, strengthening interaction with executive authorities and local self-government.