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Youth is for fair elections

July 17, 2009

Bishkek is full of election campaign posters/billboards. Majority of them are pro-Bakiev, a current president finishing his first term. (I already wrote about Bakiev’s campaign billboards, but in my friend Bektour’s blog you can find more photos of them) But, this post is not about presidential candidate’s campaign posters. It is about a small poster of a small group of youth, who, despite their small number, actually made some changes – they made people hear about their ideas.

The group of youth demonstrating in front of CEC headquarters

"I do not believe" - The youth demonstrating in front of CEC headquarters

In December 2007, a group of politically active youth hang A4 format office papers around the center of Bishkek during one night. The small posters’ message was short and clear  – they said ‘I do not believe’. As Mirsulzhan Namazaliev, a leader of the group, later stated, the main message of their action was to make the authorities hear that youth, future of the country, was very much concerned about the political future of Kyrgyzstan and did not recognize the false results of elections.

Briefly about: In December 2007, Kyrgyzstan held parliamentary elections. The results of elections were very disputable, as during the elections independent observers had noticed many violations of election standards. Moreover, the biggest oppositional political party Ata-Meken could not get the necessary share of votes in one region to hold seats, even though it got 8.7 percent of the national vote, second to pro-president party Ak-Jol. Ata-Meken blamed Ak-Jol that the latter used so-called “black PR” and illegal methods, and that Central Election Committee did not count all the ballots.

And the Kyrgyz authorities heard the youth – Mirsulzhan and his team were taken into a custody for several days for organizing a demonstration with their “I do not believeposters in front of the Central Election Committee’s headquarters on December 17, 2007.

Now, the same group of politically active youth is hanging other posters. Their message is again short and clear – they say ‘I am for fair elections’.

Poster "I am for fair elections!!!"

Poster "I am for fair elections!!!"

Let’s see if this poster will be as successful as the previous one.

Update (19.07.2009): I have heard that members of this youth group are being persecuted by the State Committee for National Security, and they are forced to sign the oaths that they would not organize any demonstrations before and after elections. Maybe its just a rumor, but I have already heard it from several people.

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