So a six-man Malaysian election observer team, led by the Malaysian Election Commission deputy chairman, have declared the Uzbekistan elections “fair” even though critics have described it as a “non-election”.
Remember, the Uzbekistan government is notorious for torturing dissidents and even putting them in boiling pots.
Check out this analysis:
Murray began receiving photographs and other evidence from victims’ families that the Uzbek government was engaging in brutal torture techniques as part of its interrogation of dissidents. One corpse had been beaten around the neck and jaw, and boiled alive. There was a line across his chest, under which it was scalded. Boiled like a lobster.
Gee, I wonder why they invited the Malaysian Election Commission deputy chairman as an observer… I hope the Election Commission in Malaysia won’t reciprocate and invite the Uzbek election commissioners as observers in our general election.
Check out this Bernama report:
Uzbekistan Election Fair, Say Malaysian Observers
By V. Sankara
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Bernama) — Despite several criticisms made by the West, Malaysian observers who witnessed Uzbekistan’s presidential election on Dec 23 found it to be democratic, transparent, peaceful and fair.
Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar who headed a six-man Malaysian observer team to monitor the election said international observers were given the freedom to choose the locations in making their observations.
The election, he said was conducted in 14 regions of Uzbekistan with 8,250 polling centres and that some 16 million people out of its 26 million population were eligible to vote.
Wan Ahmad also said Malaysian observers were given qualified interpreters to communicate with the voters there.
“In this aspect, it was very easy to gather details from the voters,” he told Bernama.
Commenting on the ballot boxes, Wan Ahmad said transparent ballot boxes were used in the election.
“It was very easy to scrutinize since everything was transparent,” he said.
Now, contrast the Bernama report above with the Reuters/AlertNet report below:
Uzbekistan’s non-electionWritten by: Andrew StroehleinReuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author’s alone.
Political theatre doesn’t get any more absurd than the 23 December presidential election in Uzbekistan, where the incumbent front-runner is neither in office now nor allowed to run for another term — though Islam Karimov is supported by all three opposing candidates. There have been a few good online articles about it over the last couple days, though of course, the country’s information black hole will prevent Uzbeks from reading them. But never mind: they already know how ridiculous it all is.
Some major international news organisations such as the Associated Press will not be covering the election from the ground, because the regime denied them accreditation. The complete lack of free media inside the country doesn’t help much either. Still, there have been a few worthwhile pieces published if you dig around.
Reporting from Tashkent, Tony Halpin has an article in the Times with a title that says it all: “Torture, an iron fist and twisted logic set stage for Islam Karimov’s landslide victory”.
Inga Sikorskaya at IWPR examines the lack of competition in “Karimov’s Rivals Unite to Praise Him”. The other candidates — I’ll spare you their names as they don’t matter at all and will never be heard of again — “routinely start by singing the praises of incumbent president Islam Karimov.” In another piece, she notes how fake election observers are being deployed to cover the non-election.
So this is the election that our Malaysian observers have described as “democratic, transparent, peaceful and fair”. I guess they were referring to the transparent ballot boxes but in the process, they have missed the wood for the trees. Just like they have here.