Home > 4.2 Presidential elections > KYRGYZ REPUBLIC- Joint Opinion on the Draft Electoral Law
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Paragraph 51

E. Presidental candidacy rights

Article 75 requires a candidate to have a “level of state language proficiency”, which the article states is “determined based on his/her ability to read, write, express his/her thoughts in the state language”. Article 75 further requires the candidate to make an oral presentation of his/her pre-election programme in 15 minutes or less and “read a printed text in the volume not more than three pages”. Article 75 is of concern because language proficiency is determined subjectively based on the opinions of a “language commission” appointed by the CEC. Thus, Article 75 does not state clear and objective criteria for determining proficiency, but instead allows for a subjective “proficiency” decision by an ad hoc commission. Finally, application of the article will exclude the candidacy of a citizen who has a visual or vocal impairment and would discriminate against such a person.[1] The Kyrgyz Republic, although it has not ratified it, has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Requiring a person with a visual or vocal impairment to meet the requirements of Article 75 in order to be a candidate would violate the general obligations under Article 4 of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission recommend Article 75 to be amended to provide for objective criteria for determining state language proficiency[2] and to accommodate persons with disabilities by providing alternative means of assessment.

[1] International standards prohibit wrongful discrimination. See Paragraph 7.3 of the OSCE 1990 Copenhagen Document; Articles 2 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Articles 25 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

[2] See UN HRC, Ignatane v. Latvia, 25 July 2001, No. 884/1999, CCPR/C/72/D/884/1999, in which limitations to the right to stand for office, based on language requirements, were ruled a violation of Article 25 ICCPR because they were not based on objective criteria and were not applied in a procedurally objective manner. See also the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 9 April 2002 in Podkolzina v. Latvia, No. 46726/99.