Speech by Ms. Louise Chamberlain UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic, at the monitoring visit of the mobile biometric registration buses of the Central Election Commission and the State Registry Service

Posted May 6, 2022

Today we are excited to launch the registration of biometric data in order for Kyrgyz citizens to be included in the voter list and being able to vote in upcoming elections this year.

The right to vote and participate in democratic elections is a fundamental right of citizens, and we are therefore delighted to support national institutions in making sure that we reach voters who have not been able to register their biometric data yet. There are different reasons why – people may be living in remote areas, they may have a disability, or they could have been migrants abroad. By trying to reach marginalized populations, we are doing everything we can to make sure they can exercise their democratic right.

From UNDP’s side, we greatly appreciate our close partnership with key state institutions of the Kyrgyz Republic, especially of course the Central Election Commission and State Registry Service, as well as the Japanese Government and the Embassy of Japan in Kyrgyzstan.

We welcome this opportunity to support further democratic development of Kyrgyzstan in line with the desire of the leadership to promote democracy and conduct free and transparent elections in accordance with best international practices. As I mentioned, enhancing inclusiveness of the voter list is a pre-condition for citizens to exercise their electoral rights. According to international elections observers, around 450,000 citizens are not registered with their biometric data, and as long as this is the case, they are disenfranchised.

We praise the efforts of the CEC and SRS on continuing the important work on further collection of voters’ data, especially as they are expanding this work and in this round will be visiting 130 cities and villages all across Kyrgyzstan. For those citizens who are not yet registered, I hope they can make use of this opportunity.

In fact the mobile buses will allow citizens not just to provide the biometric data, but also to change their passport or registration address – this will also give them access to a range of other state services that are dependent on them being found in the register. As Kyrgyzstan has embarked on a process of digitalizing the public services, this is such a critical measure for citizens to be included in service delivery in the future. Citizens will be given electronic digital keys that will allow them to use a number of state services online.

Importantly, the issuance of such electronic digital keys contribute to efficient and good governance, enhance transparency of the state management and contribute to reduce corruption.   

Last but not least, mobile buses are also conducting a major information campaign ahead of the local elections. All citizens should know and understand the responsibilities of the local keneshes, and be able to assess the programs of candidates, in order to make an informed choice on 11 April. They should also understand how their voices are being transferred into elected mandates and know how to check themselves in the voter list.

Let me end by thanking once again thank the CEC, the SRS, and all the hard working staff of these institutions for excellent cooperation in the implementation of the initiative. We wish good luck to your teams working on the ground, and we recognize that the work that you are doing is extremely important for the democratic future of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Our sincere appreciation to the Government of Japan for support and assistance in promotion of electoral democracy and sustainable development as a key partner of UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic and globally. Rahmat, Spasiba, Thank you!