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2020-10-21

Proposal to use Blockchain in the Kyrgyzstan elections

Acting President and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov proposed the introduction of a blockchain system to ensure fair elections in the near future and restore public confidence in the democratic process. 

On October 14, in the face of the political crisis and bloody riots that followed the parliamentary elections 10 days earlier, Japarov took power to become the acting President of Kyrgyzstan. 

The resolute leader of the nationalist opposition and former MP of Japanrow (until the post-election turmoil this month) served a sentence of 11 and a half years for kidnapping the governor of the region in 2013. He was released from custody at the headquarters of the National Security Committee in connection with the riots and violent police clashes that took place after the discredited elections.

Japarov was elected Prime Minister by a united parliament, which was convened on October 7 and then confirmed in the office on October 14. The nomination was criticized for allegations that organized crime groups associated in Japarov used intimidation and "rowing rallies" to influence and direct the transfer of power. On October 15, the discredited president and former incumbent Sooronbai Jeenbekov resigned and was replaced by Japarov as interim president.

Since then, Japarov has clearly stated his intentions to run for long-term president, although the existing Kyrgyz constitution prohibits interim presidents from running for office. To this end, a constitutional referendum would have to be held before the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. 

Importantly, while blockchain technology may be used to increase confidence in the integrity of the upcoming elections, Kyrgyzstan has already implemented advanced technologies to support fair elections and prevent electoral fraud through practices such as pushing ballots. Voters in the October elections were required to scan their fingerprints before receiving their ballots, and ballots were processed through an electronic scanner and server. 

Illegal practices that allegedly compromised this month's elections are not easily combated by technological solutions. These include accusations that former politicians in the country put pressure on government employees to vote in the prescribed manner, required citizens to vote in certain premises, introduced high thresholds for party representation, and used intimidation or bribery to buy votes to their advantage.