12 july 2020

Central Asia news

Even communists stand a chance at the forthcoming election of the parliament of Kazakhstan

11.07.2007 11:34 msk

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Politics Kazakhstan

OSCE and CIS observers arriving in Kazakhstan these days will monitor the parliamentary election scheduled for August 18. Observers are in a hurry because the official campaign of election of the Kazakh Majilis (lower house of the parliament) begins on July 16. It should be noted as well that the election will be organized by the proportional system.

Time is running out for whoever aspires for a seat on the Majilis. Political parties eager to start canvassing for votes organize party conventions and compile lists of candidates.

Seven parties have compiled the lists so far. One of them is Nur Otan (Light of the Fatherland), the party headed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev himself. Its list of candidates - predictably the longest - includes 127 names. Nur Otan is followed (in the descending order) by the National Social Democratic Party of the radical opposition headed by Jarmakhan Tujakbai and moderately oppositionist Ak Jol (Light Way) under the leadership of lawmaker Alihan Baimenov.

The lower house of the parliament comprises 107 seats but the race that is about to commence will be for only 98 of them. The remaining nine seats belong to the Kazakh Assembly of Peoples that will delegate its representatives to the majilis on August 20.

Smaller political organizations intend to run for the Majilis to - Ruhanijat (Spirituality), agrarian Auyl (Village), Kazakh Patriotic Party, and Communist People's Party.

That the ruling Nur Otan will win is something nobody doubts (experts only disagree over how many votes it will poll, between 50% and 80% is the usual estimate). Who else will make it to the lower house of the parliament is the principal intrigue of the campaign about to be launched. A party needs 7% votes cast for it to scale the barrier. Kazakh political scientist Eduard Poletayev believes that Social Democrats and Ak Jol will probably accompany Nur Otan into the lower house of the new parliament. By the way, Ak Jol and Nur Otan became the only two parties permitted not to deposit the mandatory election fee. These two structures alone polled over 7% in the previous campaign and were therefore spared the necessity. All other political parties are expected to deposit a sum equivalent to 15 minimum wages for every name on the list of candidates.

In any case, Poletayev is convinced that even Communists stand a chance. There are two communist parties in Kazakhstan these days. One of them, the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, is boycotting the election on the firm conviction that its outcome will be finagled in any case. In other words, the structure all but gave its votes over to the Communist People's Party that had split from it in 2004. It does not even matter that political enemies condemn the Communist People's Party as a brainchild of the National Security Committee. "The old communist electorate does not care what communist party is truer," Poletayev said. "It will merely vote for what communist party is on the bulletin."

Alexander Zhelenin

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 11, 2007, p. 6

© Translated by Ferghana.Ru