Journalist for Radio Liberty driven out from polling station in Kazakhstan
On January 10, a local journalist for Radio Liberty in Kazakhstan was driven out from a polling station, as RFE/RL reported.
The head of the polling station demanded from the reporter to present his test for COVID-19, the edition reported. On Sunday, Kazakhstan held its parliamentary election.
“However, according to the Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan, this requirement does not apply to journalists. Similar demands were issued to journalists for Radio Liberty at at least one polling station in Almaty, ” the Kazakh service of Radio Svoboda said.
In another case, the reporter Manshuk Assautai recorded the moment when ballots were thrown into the ballot box by a member of the precinct commission.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev's ruling party, which has ruled since 1999, is expected to retain a dominant position in the lower house of parliament. Four other parties loyal to the government are also running in the election.
The opposition does not actually participate in the elections. Human rights activists and opposition politicians have accused the Kazakh government of deliberately denying official registration to opposition political groups in recent months, saying the government had prevented opposition parties from running in the election.
Several opposition groups staged protests in central Almaty. At least 31 police officers were reportedly detained.
Dozens of activists have been imprisoned in recent weeks, what human rights activists call a campaign of pressure on activists and independent election observers, as well as restrictions on free speech ahead of the polls.
The last parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan took place in March 2016.