Dr. Mary Stegmaier serves as International Election Observer in Kyrgyzstan
Truman School assistant professor, Mary Stegmaier, recently served as an international election observer in Kyrgyzstan through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The October 15 Kyrgyz Presidential election stood out for its competitiveness, especially in the Central Asian region where democratic transfer of power is rare. The constitution limits the Kyrgyz president to one term in office, so current president Almazbek Atambaev could not run for reelection. Eleven candidates ran for the presidency, but the race featured two clear front-runners from the incumbent and opposition parties. Incumbent party candidate Sooronbay Jeenbekov won the contest with 54% of the vote. He will be sworn in as president on December 1.
The OSCE observes elections across its 57 member countries. It assesses elections based on international democratic election standards and offers recommendations for improvement in election administration. Approximately 350 observers from a range of OSCE member states observed the Kyrgyz election, including 35 Americans. Observers had two days of training in the capital, Bishkek, before deploying to their region of observation. Dr. Stegmaier was based in Gulcha, located in the mountains near the city of Osh. Observers worked in international teams of two and were assisted by an interpreter and driver. On Election Day, Dr. Stegmaier observed the process of preparing and opening the polling station, visited 8 stations throughout the day to watch the voting process, and ended the day by viewing the vote count and the transfer of ballots to the Territorial Election Commission. Throughout the day, she and her observation partner electronically submit evaluations of the voting process. These assessments along with those submitted by the other observation teams were used by the OSCE to compile statistics on how well the election was administered and the extent to which it met international standards.
Click here to see the OSCE preliminary assessment of the Presidential Election in Kyrgyzstan