Stability as a Distinctive Feature of the Political Transformation in Kazakhstan

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Kazakhstan is now undergoing some significant political events related to the unexpected-for-many-people resignation of its President Nursultan Nazarbayev as well as holding of early elections on June 9 this year.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first president of Kazakhstan, has initiated the so-called “soft transition of power” procedure for the purpose of implementing political and democratic reforms in the country. One must suppose that such a decision of the Kazakhstan’s leader is very relevant and strategically correct under some current sensitive geopolitical conditions as well as taking into account the “maturity” of the state system of the country.

Standing at the origins of the emergence of a new independent Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev early resigned the powers of the Head of the State on his own initiative in March 2019. Many citizens of Kazakhstan were shocked by such a decision, but the society was sympathetic to this measure of the first President of the Republic in general.

It is worth noting that the appeal of Nursultan Nazarbayev to his citizens was very impressive.

Nazarbayev said: “Each generation has to solve its problems. I and my generation have done our outmost for the country. You are aware of the results. The world is changing, and new generations are coming. The process is natural and normal. The next generation will solve new problems of their time. Let them try to make the country better”. These words sounded doubly symbolic, since the current year in Kazakhstan had been declared the Year of Youth.

There are some examples in the international practice when already “aged” leaders leave this world still holding their positions. The most recent of them has been quite recently – Trần Đại Quang, the President of Vietnam, died. As a rule, the country suffers from chaos as well as from the intensifying internal struggle for power often turning into riots or even civil war upon such unexpected events, especially in the absence of a strong and authoritative successor.

However, the things happen consistently in Kazakhstan, they are circumspect and, most significantly, take into account all legal norms. In particular, the transfer of presidential powers to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Speaker of the Senate of Parliament (the upper chamber) has also taken place in accordance with the country’s constitution. Furthermore, this politician has long been well known abroad due to the fact that he used to hold the position of the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN (2011-2013). Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is a doctor of political sciences, he has worked his long way holding the leadership positions of the Republic: he has served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs during the years of the foreign policy formation of Kazakhstan, he has served as the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan for a long time, and he has been the Chairman of the Senate of Parliament in recent years.

Nursultan Nazarbayev noted in his speech: “Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is fluent in English and Chinese. He knows the country, its economy and politics. He has nominated and worked as the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN. This was a great recognition of his merits as a diplomat and a sign of international confidence in Kazakhstan. He has been working next to me since the first days of independence of Kazakhstan. I know him well. He is an honest, responsible and committed person. He fully supports the implemented policy inside and outside the country. All government programs have been developed and adopted in partnership with him”.

Based on the foregoing, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as a participant in the upcoming extraordinary presidential elections from the ruling party at the extraordinary congress of the Nur-Otan Party.

In general, the decision to hold the early presidential elections in June is positively assessed by many international experts and political scientists. According to them, adhering to democratic principles the authorities of Kazakhstan actually provided their citizens with an opportunity to independently choose their next leader who will lead the State, and I believe that it is a very wise decision.

Even early democratic elections constitute the voice of the people, their opinion expressed on paper, the chance to vote for a better future, to express their opinion in relation to the events taking place in the State. But the point is that, thus, they choose the way to be passed by the country in the coming years as well as the direction of its foreign and domestic policy.

The Central Election Commission announced the approval of a list of 7 candidates for the presidency of Kazakhstan in early May 2019. All of them represent different parties and political movements. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President, is no longer included in this list.

The following candidates are currently registered:

1.       Amangeldy TASPIKHOV – from the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Republican Association of Trade Unions.

2.       Amirzhan KOSANOV – from the Ult Tagdyry Public Association of the National Patriotic Movement.

3.       Daniya YESPAEVA – nominated from the Aq Zhol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan.

4.       Zhambyl AKHMETBEKOV – nominated by the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan Public Association.

5.       Kassym-Jomart TOKAYEV – nominated by the Nur Otan Ruling Party.

6.       Toleubai RAKHIMBEKOV – nominated by the People’s Democratic Patriotic Party Auyl (Village) Public Association.

7.       Tugel SADY-BEK – nominated by the Uly Dala Qyrandary Republican Movement.

Now the citizens of Kazakhstan will have to listen to each candidate and adopt a balanced and deliberate decision, whereupon the well-being of the country and the future of the nation will depend. Knowing the mentality and values of the society of this country I believe that the majority of Kazakhstani people will vote for the candidate whose program will continue the course built-in by the first President Nazarbayev, since the vector in developing the modern independent state chosen by him most complies with the interests of the whole people.

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