Nur Otan party, representing the current Kazakhstan’s government, won the parliamentary elections with a considerable majority of votes. Ak Jol party, supporting small and medium business, competed with Nur Otan. The third party that entered parliament is the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.
The results were the following: Nur Otan gained almost 81% of the votes, Ak Jol – 7.47% and CPP – 7.19%.
The election results show that the ruling party is still popular among the voters. Ak Jol and CCP entered the parliament and have obtained parliamentary mandate only in accordance with the legislation. Thus, according to the election law, if only one party crossed the 7 percent barrier for representation in Parliament, the second party, according to the number of votes gathered at the elections is automatically considered as winner. The seats at the parliament will be allocated according to the percentage.
The current elections in Kazakhstan took place in difficult conditions. Elections become once again extraordinary. For a number of parties, the decision of the former lower house of parliament on their dissolution was not only surprising, but very rapid, so according to some party leaders “they don’t have enough time to prepare”.
The power balance in the country was affected by the tragic events in the west of Kazakhstan – in Zhanaozen, where redundant oil workers were on strike for more than half a year. As a result of these events the government was actively criticized by all political forces. At the same time the outflow of many members of the radical opposition National Social Democratic Party occurred. And some of them prefer the membership in the Ak Jol party.
The main reason of resignation from NSDP is disagreement with the policy of the party’s leadership. In Kazakhstan NSDP is known for its harsh criticism of the government and positioning themselves as “the main defender of the disadvantaged population.” However, the situation in Zhanaozen undermined its prestige: the party has repeatedly stated that, being mediator between the sides, negotiated with employers the claims of strikers, while the oil companies and regional authorities said that such negotiations were not carried out.
On the other hand, events in western Kazakhstan damaged the reputation of the ruling party, which claimed growth in population’s welfare. And only after people died in Zhanaozen the government formed the party and recognized the serious shortcomings in their work. Moreover, within strike period of almost all the 7 months Nur Otan defiantly ignored the situation, or stated that “worker want too much.”
During the social unrest in Kazakhstan the position of the Communists has strengthened. They had already intensified work on the eve of last year’s presidential elections. And this year they were able to recruit quite a substantial number of citizens. The primary electorates of the party are, traditionally, socially vulnerable groups, pensioners and the unemployed. Recently villagers, government employees, the workers of major enterprises and students joined the Party.
Ak Jol party has made breakthrough at this elections. Just a few years ago it was an amorphous political entity. As a rule, all parties came to themselves only in the election period. However, over the past year the changes in the party leadership, as well as the reorientation towards lobbying interests of small and medium business enabled the party to take the second place in the political lay out.
Another party, which had a good chance to enter parliament and make the greatest competition to Nur Otan had been withdrawn from the race. This is the Rukhaniyat party (The Spirituality). On the eve of the election campaign the party was just one of several “green” parties. However, accession of Mukhtar Shakhanov leader of the nationalist patriots of Kazakhstan, greatly widened the increase in its supporters. Polls showed that overwhelming number of rural youth in the West and South of Kazakhstan are ready to vote for Rukhaniyat. In the first weeks of the race, this party was leading in the number of redeemed advertising space. However, the second week of the campaign a scandal took place inside the party. As it turned out the Party Congress, which took the decision on participation in the elections and formed party list, was held with numerous violations, and the outcome of the Congress forged. As a result, the Central Election Commission decided to revoke the registration of the party list, removing the party from election race.
In any case, the preparations for these elections showed, according to many observers that the multiparty system in Kazakhstan had started to take shape. Parties do not “wake up” only for the election, but become the significant political force in the inter-election period. In fact, today in Kazakhstan exist a number of major parties. In addition to the three parties entering the parliament, there are the radical opposition National Social Democratic Party, as well as representatives of the old party Rukhaniyat and the Party of National patriots.
Now the winning parties will have the opportunity to participate in the formation of the top executive power. Overall, despite the difficulties in Kazakhstan during the election campaign, elections in this country were held openly and fairly according to the law. And, despite the obvious victory of the ruling party, the democratic principle of a multiparty in Kazakhstan has become a reality. Now, many accusations of “lack of democracy” in a one-party parliament, sounded five years ago after the last parliamentary elections, are left behind.
nCa, 19 January 2012