Tag Archives: The Leader

Kazakhstan: In Praise of the First President

1 Dec

Lord Venal has seen fit to put pen to paper as Kazakhstan prepares to celebrate the Day of the First President on 1 December, the country’s newest public holiday.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev bestrides Kazakhstan like a colossus – his image beams down from billboards on nearly every street corner. The Park of the First President is a fixture of all major towns and cities. Every evening he tops the TV news agenda meeting with dignitaries, opening factories and winning EXPO 2017 bids.

The First President awaits visitors

The First President awaits visitors

Wildly loved by his adoring public – he won 96.5 % of the vote in the last election, The Leader of the Nation, as he is also known, has worked ceaselessly over the last twenty-two years as he has steered the good ship Kazakhstan through turbulent waters to leave the country becalmed in a sea of economic prosperity and political stagnation.

He is one of the world’s longest serving presidents – only a few presidents have kept the throne warmer for longer than the glorious leader – Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson and arch-rival Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan spring to mind.

Toys_4_NAN

The Nazarbayev University in his fairytale capital city, Astana, proudly carries his name as do a network of Nazarbayev Intellectual schools, which have mushroomed across Kazakhstan in recent years. The day cannot be far off when Nazarbayev kindergartens, fertility clinics and dating agencies will grace the provincial capitals.

I, along with my former cell mate, Jonathan Aitken, the famed hagiographer, who is in Astana to sing the praises of the First President yet again, would like to wish the Leader many happy returns on this the anniversary of the distant day back in 1991 when he won his first election along with the hearts of the Kazakh nation. Long may he reign – Kazakhstan’s very own Superkhan!

Advertisements

Kazakhstan: President Set to Annoint Successor

1 Apr

According to the Astana rumour-mill, Kazakhstan’s long-serving president Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to announce his plans for a ‘khandover’ of power – he is set to pass the baton to a young boy named Sultan, rumoured to be the leader’s son.

But there’s a catch – the change will not happen until at least 2046 when Sultan turns 40. President Nazarbayev, who is exempt from term limits, will be turning 115 when he steps down.

A spokesman close to the president confirmed this wait “According to the constitution, which can, of course, be amended on a whim at short notice, Sultanchick will have to wait until he reaches the age of 40 to take over from the incumbent. But he is happy to wait, as are the people of Kazakhstan, who are willing to wait indefinitely for the right man to take over”.

The President's spokesperson

“This move to appoint a new leader shows that Kazakhstan is firmly on the path to democracy. Sultan is our Khan!” the spokesman added.

Sultan was seen in public for the first time on 4 March at a hockey match in Astana with President Nazarbayev leaning across to chat with the young lad.  The appearance sparked heated debate in the local press about the kid’s identity.

Exiled opposition leader Mukhtar Aliyev, speaking from his secret hideout in the south of France, welcomed the news. “This shows that change is coming at last to Kazakhstan. Hopefully there’ll be a free and fair election in 2046,” he told kazaxia. His Algazat party is already preparing for the election.

Fugitive opposition leader Mukhtar Aliyev pictured at his secret hideaway

Experts on Kazakhstan agreed the scenario was workable. “This move will help to ensure a smooth succession in the corridors of power in Astana. It’s worked in North Korea, Azerbaijan and Syria so I don’t see why it can’t work in Kazakhstan”,  British politician and Akorda aficionado Lord Venal told kazaxia.

Five More Years!

8 Apr

Nursultan Nazarbayev was today sworn in for five more years at the helm of Kazakhstan after his crushing victory in last week’s election where he swept up 95.55% of the vote.

A huge crowd had been bussed in to cheer the President as he made his way into an arena filled with the great and good of Kazakh society. Politicians and officials  gazed on solemnly as “The Leader” hailed the stability and progress he has brought to the country in his 22 years in charge.

In the audience were the three stooges who had ostensibly run against the incumbent in the election. After taking the oath of office, Nazarbayev extolled the prosperity that the country had enjoyed in the 20 years since it emerged from the rubble of the Soviet Union.

Now the task for the administration is to work on the 4.45% who didn’t vote for “The Leader” and to get the 10% of voters who stayed away from the polls to see the error of their ways and ensure 100% turnout and support in 2016.

Kazakhstan Election Guide

25 Mar

With just over a week to go until the presidential elections in Kazakhstan on April 3, there is little sign that the poll has caught the public’s imagination. With the main opposition party representatives either boycotting, refusing to take part or disallowed from the election, the electorate has been left a choice between four men of varying shades of grey.

Here’s Kazaxia’s guide to who’s taking part with a look at their campaign posters that are on display in the centre of Almaty. Hot favourite to win the poll is the incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev – he’s joined in the vote by eco-warrior Mels Yeleusizov, diehard commie Zhambyl Akhmetbekov and the joker in the pack Gani Kasymov.

The Leader

The sitting president looks serious in his campaign poster that appears all over Almaty. In office since 1991, he doesn’t need any catchy slogans – his poster merely reads: “We’re voting for the Leader”. His posters are placed apart from those of his opponents as he maintains an aloof position above the rough and tumble of politics.

Mels gives commuters a hard stare

Trying to win the green vote is long-term environmental campaigner Mels Yeleusizov. Often to be found clearing up his compatriots’ litter and planting trees, Yeleusizov looks down sternly at motorists from his pedestal on a flyover in the centre of Almaty. Maybe he’s trying to prick the consciences of the jeep-driving masses as they sit in traffic on their way home.

Kazakh workers of the world unite!

The Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan, as opposed to the Communist Party of Kazakhstan which is not fielding a candidate, is presenting a gritty, working class image to the voters with blue-collar workers posing in their mines and factories.  Somewhat appropriately, their billboard is attached to the side of a building site.

The joker in the pack

The joker in the pack is Gani Kasymov, head of the pro-Nazarbayev Party of Patriots. Earlier in the campaign, he shied away from an interview with Radio Free Europe when he realised he would have to answer questions about what he stood for. His campaign poster reads cryptically “My way is the way of the people”. Is he being secretive or is it just that he doesn’t have any ideas?