Running for office may often carry a personal price, but young Kyrgyz political scientist Denis Berdakov never expected it to amount to a payout of $350,000 for a slot on a candidate list in Kyrgyzstan’s 2020 parliamentary elections.
Such allegations are not uncommon in this economically underdeveloped Central Asian country. Kyrgyz law does not require political parties to disclose their sources of campaign funding, so parties often look where they can to pad their coffers.
In their assessment of Kyrgyzstan’s 2015 parliamentary elections, international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted that charging candidates to run for office, while not illegal, “raises questions about undue dependence of parties on private donors and the predominance of business interests in the parliament.”
The government has officially committed to making its campaign-finance system more transparent and to toughening up the punishments for violations.
Elections to Kyrgyzstan’s 120-seat, unicameral parliament, or Jogorku Kenesh, are expected on October 4, 2020.