Expert: Renewed "Akjol" party capable of joining Kazakh parliament

Expert: Renewed "Akjol" party capable of joining Kazakh parliament

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 5 / Trend E. Ostapenko /

Changes in Kazakh political institutions will introduce the second party which is loyal to the current government and parliament, the editor-in-chief of information-analytical agency Vestnik Kavkaza Alexei Vlasov said.

On Friday, the Kazakh Democratic Party "Akjol" leader, Alikhan Baimenov, was appointed Chairman of the Agency for Civil Service in accordance with the presidential decree. The head of the National Economic Chamber "Atameken" Azat Peruashev was appointed head of "Akjol." Until last Friday, he was member of the pro-presidential party "Nur Otan".

Baimenov said earlier that "Akjol" plans to participate in upcoming parliamentary elections.

According to amendments to the Kazakh Constitution of 2007, at least two political parties must be represented in the lower house of the parliament (Majlis). The upcoming national elections must form a bipartisan parliament.

"Akjol" is likely to be the second party," he said "having just been renewed. Moreover, the party leader Peruashev is not only chairman of the Atameken union, but also a close friend of the president's son-in-law, the influential Kazakh businessman Timur Kulibayev."

The MP term of office for the current convocation will expire in 2012, but experts are not ruling out holding early elections this fall.

Adviser to the Kazakh President has repeatedly called the National Economic Chamber of Kazakhstan "Atameken" as the most probable competitor to the ruling "Nur Otan" party in parliament. Earlier, "Atameken" was to be officially renamed as a political party.

Vlasov said that the current balance allows the presidential administration to achieve his goals with ease.

"People who led Atameken have moved to Akjol's leadership," he said. "The need for a complicated registration procedure of Atameken to become a political party is dissolved. There is a new-old party headed by people close to Timur Kulibayev; the party is completely controlled by Ak Orda."

Baimenov held several important posts, including Member of Parliament, Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of the Kazakh Peoples, Deputy Minister of Labour, the Head of the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Head of the Presidential Administration. In 1998, he instigated the establishment of the Civil Service Agency, becoming its first chairman in 1999.

In March 2002 he created the Democratic Party "Akjol" and joined the opposition. Baimenov has never interrupted relations with the country's leadership, taking a constructive opposition stance.

Baimenov's current appointment is a step toward establishing contact with the opposition, the nomination of his representatives to the commanding positions in the government, Vlasov said. Moreover, "Akjol" is a very well known and respected group in Kazakhstan, with ample chances to win elections.

"Many people still associate Akjol with the parliamentary elections of 2004, when the party was a real opposition to the state authorities," Vlasov said. "People, especially from rural areas of the country, vote usually by name rather than by the program being offered by the party and its leaders."

The new Head of "Akjol", Peruashev, is familiar with how political parties function, having been leader of the Kazakh Civic Party in the late 1990s. The pro-presidential "Nur Otan" emerged in 2005. According to Kazakhstan's media, Baimenov will resign from "Atameken" in order to focus on political activity.

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