Presidential election in Kazakhstan: does country need changes?

Presidential election in Kazakhstan: does country need changes?

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.22

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Presidential election will be held in Kazakhstan on April 26. There are three candidates running for the country's top office. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the incumbent president and the candidate of the Nur Otan ruling party, Turgun Syzdykov, candidate of the Communist People's Party and Abelgazi Kussainov, a self-nominated candidate, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan.

Initially, there were 22 candidates in the presidential run, but the Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan accepted only three, after the others failed to meet all the requirements, such as passing a language exam, which is obligatory for the registration of candidates.

There is very little doubt - in fact no doubt - amongst all experts both in Kazakhstan and abroad that Nursultan Nazarbayev will win the election, with a whopping majority of more than 90 percent.

It is sufficient to recall the results of Nazarbayev in the previous election. He gained 95.55 percent of votes in the 2011 election, and 91.15 percent in 2005. People's support for Nazarbayev was also high in two presidential elections in 1990s. At present, no political figure in the country can compete in popularity with the incumbent president. In terms of his participation in the election, the other two candidates have no chance of a victory. Thus, there is every reason to believe that Nazarbayev will be re-elected for another term, his fifth presidential term.

To date, in terms of political and economic instability in the region and in the world as a whole, support for Nazarbayev is only growing. For most Kazakhs, it is namely him, who is the guarantor of stability, development and prosperity of the country, who is able to prevent shocks that have occurred in a number of post-Soviet countries to a greater or lesser extent.

During the reign of Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has achieved great success indeed. To date, it is one of the most prosperous and stable countries of the region. Kazakhstan has the highest standard of living among countries in the region, the highest salaries. The average monthly wage in Kazakhstan in 2014 amounted to $669, in Kyrgyzstan - $230, in Tajikistan - $173, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE or ECE) in 2014. The international organizations have no data on Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. But it is less than $300, according to various sources.

As a result, Kazakhstan is the only country in Central Asia, which accepts labor migrants rather than exports them, like most of its neighbors do.

In addition, despite the very multi-ethnic composition of the population of the country, during the years of independence of Kazakhstan there was no ethnic conflict on its territory, which is also rare for the region. Nazarbayev managed to create conditions under which more than 120 nationalities residing in the country live in peace and comfort and feel like full-fledged citizens of Kazakhstan. To date, in terms of adverse events occurring in the region and in the world as a whole, it is especially important to preserve this fragile interethnic stability.

Moreover, during the years of independence, under the leadership of Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has succeeded to create friendly relations with all countries in the region. Kazakhstan has no territorial conflicts with its neighbors, disputed territories or problems with the delimitation of borders as distinct from other countries in the Central Asia.

At the same time, despite of the fact that the country is located in the zone of conflict of interests of Russia, US, China and other major players and these countries put pressure on it, the country succeeded to maintain a balance by taking into account its national interests.

Meanwhile, especially, following the withdrawal of the NATO coalition forces from Afghanistan, one shouldn't forget about the increasing threat of spread of the extremist pseudo-religious movements in the region.

Although Kazakhstan is quite open to the outside world and is located close to the flashpoints of extremist activities, the country manages to avoid mass spread of radicalism and terrorism on its territory.

Although this problem somehow affected Kazakhstan, the acts of terrorism the country faced in 2011 were unusual events for Kazakhstan. Since then, the country's law enforcement agencies have managed to eliminate the periodically emerging terrorist groups before they fulfilled their criminal intentions. In general, the security situation in Kazakhstan is quite satisfactory.

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Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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