Tag Archives: Kazakhstan election 2012

Kazakhstan: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

20 Jan

Kazaxia has received the following contribution from Dr Boris B. Eltway of the Free University of Trans-Dniester Moldavian Republic on the recent election in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has just been to the polls in what many observers are hailing as a major step forward on the long, rocky road to democracy. In the wake of Nur Otan’s crushing victory Astana is soaking up the plaudits for moving from a one-party parliament to a multi-party one with room being made in parliament for two other parties.

But hang on a minute, this is hardly Myanmar or some such place we’re discussing here. The one-party parliament only came about as no other party was able to exceed the seven percent threshold in 2007’s election. In 2004 Kazakhstan had a multi-party parliament with five political forces represented, including an earlier incarnation of Ak Zhol when it was a genuine opposition party, although it only took up its seat after a split in the party. So is this really a step forward?

Now the president’s party Nur Otan is being kept company by the latest model of Ak Zhol and The Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (not to be confused with the outlawed Communist Party of Kazakhstan). We have a very cosy little parliament with Ak Zhol a pro-business party, the split-off commies on the left and the center dominated by the party of power. Both the newcomers are pro-presidential – no statements were made in the election campaign to suggest otherwise.

In fact, very few issues were mentioned in the campaign anyway. The elephants in the corner – terrorism and industrial unrest were kept off the agenda and the massacre in Zhanaozen was deftly spun by the state-controlled media as being down to mysterious ‘third forces’ and oil company executives mishandling the situation.

That these two new arrivals are sham opposition parties is not under discussion in Astana – it is enough for the spin doctors and window dressers to merely be able to provide a semblance of a functioning democracy to the outside world.

Real power remains in the hands of one man – no matter how many parties are represented in parliament be they sham or genuine opposition, it remains a toothless, rubber-stamp body that carries out the orders of the executive without question.

The people of Kazakhstan deserve better from their leaders and from their nascent democracy.

 

Kazakhstan: Kleptys Denies Criticizing Elections

19 Jan

In the light of President Nazarbayev’s statement on 18 January that hired experts “who criticize our elections” will be barred from observing future polls in Kazakhstan, Kleptys Oil and Gas (KOG) has asked Kazaxia to publish this press release (for a small consideration).

Kleptys Oil and Gas (KOG) vehemently deny the allegation that its hired  observer, Lord Venal, was critical of the recent election in Kazakhstan.

It is not the policy of KOG to criticize elections in nations where it hopes to earn lucrative contracts. KOG is not a greedy company and will accept any slice of the pie, however miniscule it may be.

Lord Venal found the election to be totally free and fair along with those esteemed superpower democracies Russia and China, and the CIS observer mission.

 

Kazakhstan Election 2012: Venal’s View

17 Jan

Kazaxia has received the following contribution from Britain’s Lord Venal, who was recently in Kazakhstan to observe the parliamentary elections.

I’ve just returned to Venal Towers after another successful observation trip to Kazakhstan (kindly subsidised by Kleptys Oil and Gas (KOG)) and I’d like to share my positive feelings that the election has left me with.

First off I’d like to offer my hearty congratulations to Kazakhstan as it enters an exciting new phase of multi-party democracy. The election itself was very well-managed and went off without a hitch in this vast country that straddles both Europe and Asia.

It was an early start on the Sunday as I was ferried to the nearest polling station from my diggings at the splendid Rixos Hotel. Polling was sluggish in the morning session, but that came as no surprise to me as Sundays are always slow to get off the ground in the Venal household. By the time my minder from KOG suggested a spot of lunch at 12.30 turnout was a somewhat low 6.9%.

After a splendid lunch – hospitality is something that Kazakhstan excels at – I was feeling a bit woozy so I retired to my suite for a quick power snooze. By the time I got back to the polling station at 18.30 there had been a surge in voter activity and the turnout stood at an impressive 79.1%.

The last 90 minutes of voting passed by quickly as we cracked open a few bottles of bubbly to celebrate a good day’s work. Then it was off to the KOG post-election party at a secret location where representatives of Kazakhstan’s high and mighty were schmoozed until the early hours.

When one has been observing elections as long as I have, one sometimes thinks that one has seen it all, but this election threw up a few surprises even for me. As I mentioned in my earlier report from the Presidential election last April, Kazakhstan has a splendid tradition of giving presents to senior citizens and first-time voters – take note Britain!

Some other innovations that could well prove popular in Britain included ‘carousel voting’ where the voters are taken by mini bus to different polling stations and ‘family voting‘ where a representative votes for all the family members.

My only regret is that the next elections in Kazakhstan will not be until 2016. But with KOG’s new contacts made at the post-election bash, I’m sure I will be visiting these shores again in the not too distant future.

(Editor’s note: Lord Venal is a contributor to this blog and his views are not necessarily those of Kazaxia)¬†

Kazakhstan Goes to the Polls

11 Jan

Lord Venal has interrupted his winter break to share his thoughts on Kazakhstan’s upcoming parliamentary elections with Kazaxia.

Kazakhstan prepares for the rush of voters

Kazakhstan’s big day is getting ever closer and I have decided to cut short my winter break in the Maldives and share my thoughts on the latest developments in the land of Abay. It’s been quiet in the Maldives this year anyway as the boisterous Kazakh contingent was conspicuous by its absence after allforeign travel for officials was banned in the light of the troubles in Zhanaozen.

I have been keeping a close eye on events in Kazakhstan. After the unrest in the west some observers suggested postponing the elections and it was even mooted to cancel the vote in Zhanaozen, which is still under lockdown, but the Leader wisely pooh-poohed this idea. It is important at this troubling time that the people get out to the polling booths and put their support behind Nur Otan and the other party that will be in parliament to maintain peace and stability in the country. The banning of troublemaker opposition candidates such as Bolat Abilov and Gulzhan Yergaliyeva can only be for the good of the country as a whole.

I found a copy of Jonathan Aitken‘s latest work Kazakhstan and Twenty Years of Independence: Surprises and Stereotypes After 20 Years of Independence in my Christmas stocking and have been dipping into it with relish. Recent events in Kazakhstan suggest that maybe Jeffrey Archer, that other disgraced former Tory MP who has done time in prison, would have been a better choice to pen something about the country with his prolific fiction writing skills. I hope Akorda was happy with the present I sent – a copy of Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, which has some interesting ideas for contemplation.

2012 will be an exciting year for Anglo-Kazakh co-operation, especially with Tony Blair advising Astana. Next time I speak in the house I will highlight some business opportunities I have uncovered for British firms. With at least 16 people killed and scores wounded in Zhanaozen on 16 December there would appear to be a gap in the market for some non-lethal riot control materials such as water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas. Britain’s long experience in Northern Ireland has made it a world leader in the production of riot control gear and this golden opportunity to assist Kazakhstan should not be missed.

Kazakhstan: Beating the Blockers!

15 Nov

Kazaxia has been working on a solution to beat the blockers in Kazakhstan and keep on blogging. With popular blog platforms such as WordPress and Blogspot blocked in the country alternatives needed to be found. A fellow blogger recommended www.blog.com, which is similar to WordPress but with some ads, and it seems to be working fine in Kazakhstan.

In future Kazaxia will be appearing on kazaxia.blog.com as well as kazaxia.wordpress.com. This means that our readership in Kazakhstan will be able to access the site without having to go through proxies.

There was an interesting article on eurasianet.org last week about the situation in Kazakhstan with regard to Internet freedom. The article looked at the recent spate of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks in the country.

The article mentioned moving to platforms such as Blogspot – it’s a shame the authors didn’t do some research within Kazakhstan. Then they would have realised how pernicious the attacks on Internet freedom have become in Kazakhstan with a host of bloggers affected by the blocking of WordPress and Blogspot.

With parliamentary elections now called for January 15 in Kazakhstan, keep on checking out Kazaxia on the addresses mentioned above for information about the transition to democracy and to follow Lord Venal’s new observation adventures.