Kazakhstan: Lear or Joffrey?

27 Feb

A major obstacle to presidential succession plans in Kazakhstan was removed this week with the suicide of Rakhat Aliyev.

With Aliyev, Kazakhstan’s Public Enemy Number One, found dead in his prison cell earlier this week in Austria, the way could now be clear for the president’s eldest daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, to ascend to the throne.

While Aliyev was still on the scene there were fears that Dariga’s psycho ex-husband, convicted in Kazakhstan of plotting to overthrow the government and organising a criminal group that abducted people, could somehow sneak into power on the back of his ex-wife.

A snap presidential poll has been called for April 26 in Kazakhstan, a vote which should see incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev sweep back into power on a tide of mass popular support, but there’s one snag – the septuagenarian president, who was been running the show since 1989 in Kazakhstan, has not yet said whether he will be running.

kazaxia’s chief political commentator Gary Kafali has identified two possible scenarios should Nazarbayev decide to call it a day.

With Aliyev out of the way,  the president can hand over the reins to his daughter to safeguard the widespread interests of the Nazarbayev clan in Kazakhstan with no fears of his nemesis making an unwelcome appearance.

Kafali imagines a King Lear scenario where the leader of the nation divides his time between his three daughters with Dariga taking over the running of the country. However, Shakespeare fans will know that didn’t end well so it may not be the best for Kazakhstan.

The Joffrey scenario will see Nazarbayev by-pass his daughter and anoint his eldest grandson instead. Nurali Aliyev, son of Rakhat and Dariga, would be a guarantor of the clan’s interests, although there are fears that he may have inherited some of his father’s less pleasant genes. Game of Thrones fans will be wary of the young leader turning into a leader in the sadistic mould of Joffrey Baratheon.

When pressed, Kafali said that the most likely scenario is that president Nazarbayev will be unable to give up power and we should expect to see him back in charge come April 27.

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