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Election in Kazakhstan: What Conclusions Should Akorda Make? [commentary]

No drastic changes should be expected in the top echelons of power in the next six months. This issue needs to be well-thought and strictly coordinated with the Yelbassy.

Publications in the Opinion section do not reflect the opinions of the editorial staff and are the personal opinions of authors.


Police officers detain the protesters on the voting day in the centre of Almaty. Photo courtesy of Rus.azattyq.org. By: Mariya Gordeyeva/Reuters

On June 9, 2019, I was lucky to take part in voting beyond Kazakhstan for the first time. I voted at the polling station inside the Embassy of Kazakhstan to Georgia. At this historic moment both for me and for my people I made a firm decision to participate in voting and was totally against the idea of boycotting the presidential election in our country.

We needed to demonstrate our public stance, express the mood of people and thus show our president who he is going to work with in the next five years. Despite the protests, rallies and calls for destruction, I think the election was successful.

It’s good news that the authorities, for the first time ever, have officially recognised infractions at some polling stations and provided feedback on illegal actions during the election. In general, this election has been different in many respects. Here are some of them:

First. Young people have been active. This group of population has protested and thus proved they are a part of the system and are not willing to be left aside. Moreover, they have shown the authorities were wrong about non-political Kazakh youth.

Second.  Little experience of the current elite. Decision-makers have shown the world they are not ready for the crisis and unexpected situations, their inability to work with protest potential of people and a lack of communication skills and knowledge of work with people.

Third. An “enormous” information flow. The pre-election period has been full of various news stories in various formats and images as never before. The people had no time to respond in a right way and make analysis of incoming rumours, assumptions and even “messages” from the country’s officials.

About opposition

Great “performance” of the Kazakh opposition shouldn’t go unnoticed. Yesterday election showed the real essence of the country’s so-called opposition and what it is like today. The opposition’s main target was not to win the election or counter the authorities in power of Kazakhstan. The primary reason was to secure presence and seats in the national parliament.

The election is over and results have been announced both to local population and to the world community.

What’s next?

First of all, the new power will make a comprehensive analysis and draw correct conclusions of the “2019 election.” There’s clear evidence of deficiencies and inability of the political management to work with people. This political event was a good and learning “experience” for all participants.

Second, the new administration will strengthen its work towards reduction of social tension among the Kazakhstanis: issues of the low-income people and large families, fight against corruption, improvement of economic indicators, quality of educational and medical services. In short, the initial task is domestic policy.

Third, I am expecting realignment of forces in the regions, i.e. akims of the largest regions and cities will be replaced very soon. The newly elected president will gather managers with skills of communication with people around him and focus his attention to the Kazakh-speaking part of people dissatisfied with the current system.

Fourth, no drastic changes should be expected in the top echelons of power in the next six months. This issue needs to be well-thought and strictly coordinated with the Yelbassy.

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