Protests in Egypt influence Nazarbayev's refuse to hold referendum

Protests in Egypt influence Nazarbayev's refuse to hold referendum

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.1 / Trend E. Ostapenko /

Kazakh President's decision to refuse holding a referendum was not scheduled. It was taken in view of population's mass protests broke out in Egypt with the requirements of the power change, German political scientist Alexander Rahr believes.

Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday decided not to hold a referendum on extending presidential power until 2020 and offered to hold early elections this year, thereby reducing his presidential term by two years.

So, what decision the Kazakh President will take remained intrigue for analysts and ordinary citizens of Kazakhstan.

Rahr, expecting Nazarbayev's consent, links his refusal with the events in Egypt, where mass protests last already for a week demanding 82-year old President Hosni Mubarak's resignation and holding economic and political reforms.

"One man ruled Egypt for 30 years and it seemed that for the people he was the nation's father and just God. He always gave stability to the country, Egypt became a real leader in the Islamic world in the foreign policy during his presidency. And suddenly one night riots hit the country and the person is forced to almost flee from the country, which he still doesn't do, "Rahr, director of the Center of Russia-Eurasia of the German Foreign Policy Council told Trend.

According to him, such politicians, as Nazarbayev, if they really have the political wisdom and information, can analyze the situation and understand that such events could occur in their countries.

"Therefore, it is necessary, despite all, to keep up with the time and build a democracy, not taking all the power and know how to divide it in order to avoid such serious consequences in the future," he said.

The 70-year-old Nazarbayev has been in power for over 20 years. According to the poll, the president is supported by 90 percent of the population. Last year he received the status of "Leader of Nation".

A massive campaign on collecting signatures in support of the initiative took place in late 2010 and early 2011. More than five million signatures of the minimum required 200,000 were collected in support of the referendum within a few weeks.

The initiative was supported by all major state agencies, as well as commercial and public organizations. However, Nazarbayev refused to sign the amendments on Monday, and instead submitted them to the Constitutional Council for consideration, which recognized a referendum as legally incorrect and contradicting the foundations of democracy.

Nazarbayev finds way out of the situation, Rahr says. By choosing early elections, he saves the democratic process in the country.

According to Rahr, the situation is specific in Kazakhstan. Such a political system has been built there that is associated with the name of one person, namely Nazarbayev. Really Nazarbayev is a man with historical significance, he is the creator of a new Kazakhstan, Rahr said, adding that this statement is not exaggerated, because he is perceived in such way by the people.

Perhaps, therefore, Nazarbayev has the right to take certain steps that other leaders can not do it in the overall political process, Rahr believes.

At the same time, Nazarbayev, he said, should understand that he is not young, and further strengthening the personal power will only lead to further deviation from the democratic initiatives in the country.

The West has repeatedly expressed concern about the decision to abandon democratic procedure of presidential elections in Kazakhstan. The U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan twice published a statement calling for Astana to comply with obligations taken before the international community. Also during the meeting with the Kazakh Foreign Minister in Washington the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that the United States does not welcome the idea of referendum.

In the case of early elections at least some democratic procedure will be taken into account, Rahr said. And for the world community such an option is most acceptable than the actual seizure of power for 10 years, as stipulated in first proposals of the parliament.

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