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Blended into the United Social Democratic Party, the opposition learns to live in the new Kazakhstan

10.10.2007 12:23 msk

Ekspert Kazakhstan

Politics Kazakhstan

The opposition is learning to live and operate in the conditions where a multiparty system coexists with a one-party parliament as peacefully as the Communist regime and free enterprise do in China. When the figures reported by the Central Electoral Commission or Statistics Agency differ so greatly from what one sees with his own eyes, it inevitably brings to mind the concept of parallel worlds.

Kazakh Social Democrats learn from their own mistakes and draw on foreign experience as well. Arranging their annual convention recently, the Laborites organized a seminary for Social Democrats from 16 foreign countries. Kazakhstan alone represented all of the post-Soviet territory. The United Social Democratic Party alone represented Kazakhstan, and Marina Sabitova represented the party as such. Member of the Political Council of the United Social Democratic Party, Sabitova is who made the Kazakh opposition Social Democratic in the first place.

"Debates within the party were mostly centered around ways and means of preventing a slide, when in the opposition, into isolationism and of retaining the Social Democratic nature under the circumstances," Sabitova said. She is of the opinion that the text-book bipartisan model keeps the opposition in the center because odds are the opposition will become the powers-that-be, tomorrow. "I earnestly hoped that this model would be established in Kazakhstan," she said. "It would have solved lots of problems. Also importantly, it would have made the opposition noticeably less radical."

Sabitova counts on a powerful campaign of indoctrination at the party convention scheduled for October and afterwards. "There is more to a party than office, fund-raising, or even performance in elections," Sabitova said. "There is the ideology."

Kazakh opposition failed to prove foul play at the election

United Social Democratic Party leader Jarmahan Tujakbai said yesterday the lawsuits questioning the outcome of August 18 parliamentary election had been turned down. According to official estimates, Nur Otan headed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev scored a convincing victory. Six other parties were running for the parliament too (some of them parties of the opposition), but not one of them scaled the 7% barrier.

Social Democrats questioned the outcome of the election at the polling stations where they believed it had been rigged. "We filed nearly 400 lawsuits and backed them with documents. They all were turned down," Tujakbai said. The opposition leader admitted that he had expected it. "It was like that in the wake of the previous election too. Hundreds lawsuits - and nothing to show for the effort. All the same, these documents will make the point one fine day."

Population of Kazakhstan stands at over 15.5 million nowadays. Eight political parties operate in the country. The Kazakh Communist Party boycotted the election.

Ekspert Kazakhstan, No 37, October 8, 2007. © Translated by Ferghana.Ru